Mexico’s biggest trucking association has filed a $30 billion dollar arbitration claim against the United States for refusing to fully open the country to trucks from south of the border, as called for in the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Canacar director Jose Refugio Muñoz Lopez, told one Mexico-based newspaper that the current program allowing Mexican trucks into the U.S. “in no way has it served as a mechanism for U.S. compliance with its requirements under NAFTA,” which went into effect 20 years ago.
Muñoz Lopez also claimed because the U.S. has failed to fully open its border to Mexican trucks, this has resulted in Mexican trucking companies being forced to make investments in the U.S. and create cargo-transfer zones along the border.
Some 30,000 Mexican truckers have reportedly signed on to the arbitration action. An unnamed U.S. law firm is representing Canacar.
President Obama is reportedly going to address the issue when he travels to Mexico on Feb. 19 in a meting with Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto, that also includes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as part of the North American leaders summit.
They are expected to discuss "a range of issues important to the daily lives of all of North America's people, including economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship, trade and investment, and citizen security," according to the White House.
Nearly three years ago the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the beginning of its long-haul cross-border program with Mexico, following a previous one that was started by the agency and later stopped by Congress and President Obama. Mexican trucks that do not participate in the current program, are restricted to a narrow-area just inside the U.S., except for the few carriers that still have authority to run long-haul in the country (outside of the current long-haul cross-border trucking program), which were grandfathered in prior to NAFTA.
Since the implementation of NAFTA, several groups, including the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters Union, along with public advocacy groups, have pushed to keep long-haul Mexican trucks out of the U.S. over alleged safety concerns. Eventually, such efforts came up short with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year saying it would not consider an OOIDA challenge to current long-haul, cross-border program with Mexico, allowing a lower court ruling allowing it to stand.