Congress to Administration: Resolve the Mexican Truck Conflict

By March 2, 2010Trade

A bipartisan group of House members — 27 Democrats, 29 Republicans — have sent Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk a strongly written letter demanding action and accountability on Administration’s plans to resolve the dispute over Mexican trucks on U.S. roads. “The current situation is unsustainable and untenable,” they write.

Not just the inaction, but the Administration’s failure to match words with deeds that frustrates the House members. Last March, Mexico hit more than 90 U.S. manufactured and agricultural goods with tariffs ranging (mostly) from 10 to 45 percent in retaliation for the U.S.’s failure to abide by its trade commitments on cross-border trucking. (See WSJ, Reuters.)

From the letter:

We are writing to express our concern about the lack of action and transparency by the United States Trade Representative and the Department of Transportation to address tariffs imposed by Mexico on U.S. agricultural and manufacturing products in response to the removal of the cross-border trucking pilot program. These tariffs have had a devastating impact on our local industries and area economies. Therefore, given the importance of this matter to our constituents, we urge you to immediately implement a plan of action to rectify this situation. …

Over the past 11 months, Administration officials have repeatedly expressed confidence that a resolution ot the current dispute could be found that would fulfill our obligations to Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Obama expressed his commitment to resolving the issue to President Calderon during their meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico in August, 2009. However, to date, the Administration has not shared any of the principles or the parameters of a proposed plan.

The House members “implore” the LaHood and Kirk to work toward a quick solution, and they ask the officials to communicate their plans for resolving the issue.

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