The U.S. Department of Transportation is now open to applications from Mexicans who want to own or control U.S. companies that provide point-to-point service for international cargo, and bus service. Until now, DOT had been blocked from receiving applications by a moratorium in past legislation.
The move has been expected since March, when the U.S. and Mexico came to agreement on disputed provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The more controversial provision has to do with safety – the U.S. is supposed to let Mexican truck and bus companies operate long-distance in the U.S. by the first of next year, and is working on a plan to ensure that the trucks will be safe.
“This (financial provision) does not affect the cross-border access provision of NAFTA,” said David DeCarme, head of DOT’s Maritime, Surface, and Facilitation Division.
The Mexican-owned companies established in the U.S. under this provision must obey all the laws and rules that apply to U.S. and Canadian companies, DOT said in its announcement.
While the border opening will be reciprocal – U.S. trucks will have equal access to Mexico – the investment provisions of NAFTA are more protective of Mexico.
Mexicans will be able to invest in or own 100% of international freight transport companies based in the U.S., but U.S. citizens are limited to 51% ownership in Mexico. Full investment rights will not come to U.S. citizens until Jan. 1, 2004, a provision of NAFTA intended to protect Mexican companies from their larger, better capitalized competitors from the north