Keep on Trucking

By March 10, 2008Infrastructure, Trade

From this morning’s news conference at the U.S Department of Transportation:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters today cautioned Congress that now is not the time to halt efforts to implement trucking provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is delivering economic benefits to U.S. workers, farmers, businesses and consumers.

Secretary Peters said a broad coalition of more than 69 U.S. companies and agricultural and business organizations support the project because of the benefits it provides to U.S. exporters who every year ship billions worth of products and produce into Mexico. Should Congress choose to end the project, Mexico has the right under the rules of NAFTA to impose fees and tariffs on U.S. goods that would surely result in lost business and lost jobs, she said.

“Whatever their reason, this is no time to let the politics of pessimism dim the promise of prosperity for hundreds of thousands of American drivers, growers and manufacturers. We should be looking for every chance to open new markets for our drivers, to find new buyers for our products, and encourage new consumers for our produce,” Secretary Peters said.

This study by Iowa State University economics and finance professor Dermot Hayes documents the economic impact and jobs loss from legitimate Mexican retaliation.

The has a story on the issue, “Peters makes plea for keeping Mexico truck program,” noting the participation of: National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler; American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman; Corn Refiners Association President Audrae Erickson; and Emergency Committee for American Trade President Calman Cohen.

The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the Mexican cross-border trucking program on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Details here.

UPDATE (2:50 p.m.): AP story here.

UPDATE (3 p.m.): A little back story. The Teamsters have gone after Peters for her efforts to implement the law, a typical enough tactic by organized labor: When you can’t make the case on a policy basis, personalize it.

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