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Last Updated:[10-02-2010 06:56:10 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

US-Mexico Truck Dispute Enters Hope Highway

tradenews A meeting between two top government representatives from the US and Mexico suggests the Obama administration’s revocation of the pilot program will be lifted soon to end the one year old trade spat. The program allowed the movement of some Mexican long-haul rigs or trucks through the US roads.

The US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and the Economy Secretary of Mexico Gerardo Ruiz Mateos in a joint press meet held in Mexico declared the differences on the pilot program would be ironed out soon to facilitate trade between both countries.

Following the ban, Mexico as a retaliatory measure has slapped higher tariffs on 90 items worth $2.4bn of the US agricultural and industrial products from 40 states. During the meet, in regards to the trade tension, Mateos said with about $400bn a year in bilateral trade between both countries, there were bound to be some problems.

Last year’s ban which violated the NAFTA clause was enacted by blaming the Mexican truckers’ not adhering to the US safety standards. At that time, Mateos had argued despite about 46000 crossings during the 18 month old pilot program no noticeable accidents were being reported.

The annulment of the program is regarded as a token to an election promise, the NAFTA will be re-negotiated and modified to preserve the US jobs, by Obama to the labor unions who gave support to him in the 2008 presidential election. The US is estimated to have spent $500mn for the pilot program since its inception.

Kirk apprised that there was fundamental shift in the language of this year’s appropriation bill by removing the clause on cutting off the funding to the pilot program. Prior to the two-day visit to Mexico, he had stated that the US farmers, ranchers and other exporters that had been subject of the retaliation had made their displeasure known to the Congress, and so there was a sense of urgency to find a solution soon.

By Jose Roy

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