Producers Want Trucking Issue with Mexico Resolved

US - With rumours that the Mexican government may update a trade retaliation list against US products, the National Pork Producers Council and state pork producer organisations on Monday, 15 March, urged the Obama administration to resolve a dispute with Mexico over allowing its trucks into the United States.
calendar icon 17 March 2010
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"This needs to be resolved so our trading partners have assurance that the United States will live up to its trade obligations."
Sam Carney, NPPC President

Last March, the Mexican government imposed higher tariffs on an estimated $2.4 billion of US goods after the US Congress failed to renew a pilot program that allowed a limited number of Mexican trucking companies to work beyond the 25-mile commercial zone that was created in the United States.

NPPC, which worked to keep pork off that retaliation list, and 37 state producer associations in a letter to President Obama asked that the US government live up to a provision in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allows Mexican trucks to haul freight into and out of the United States.

Mexican trucks had been operating in the United States under the Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Programme, which was started by the US Department of Transportation in September 2007 as a way to begin implementing the NAFTA trucking provision. That provision was supposed to begin in December 1995 and take full effect by 1 January 2000.

Congress refused to renew the pilot programme or to implement the NAFTA provision, citing concerns about the safety of Mexican trucks even though under the pilot program they were held to the same safety standards as US trucks and were examined and cleared by US inspectors. In February 2001, a NAFTA dispute-settlement panel ruled that the exclusion of Mexican trucks violated US obligations under NAFTA. The ruling gave Mexico the right to retaliate against US products entering Mexico.

“We need to get this trucking issue resolved,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa, “Mexico is an important market for US pork, which right now isn’t on the retaliation list, but it could be. More importantly, this needs to be resolved so our trading partners have assurance that the United States will live up to its trade obligations.”

In 2009, the United States exported to Mexico more than 503,000 metric tons of pork worth more than $762 million, making it the No. 2 market for US pork exports.

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