Mexican Trucks, an Update (But Not Much of One)

Will Mexican President Felipe Calderon mention the cross-border trucking dispute at his 11 a.m. speech to a joint session of Congress? If he does, it will be the first specific reference to the issue we’ve seen from Mexico’s President and President Obama thsi week.

Yes, there are many, many important bilateral issues that President Obama and President Calderon needed to discuss —  the illegal drug trade, border violence, immigration. But it would have been nice if the word “trucking” had come up at least once, that is,  if there had been a straight-forward acknowledgement of the impact of the Mexican tariffs imposed on U.S. manufacturing and agricultural products in retaliation for the U.S. violation of NAFTA on cross-border trucking., the website of the Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine, reported:

Although observers had widely expected the issue of cross-border trucking to be addressed this week during Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s visit to Washington, D.C., the issue was only alluded to in remarks and statements by Calderon and President Obama following yesterday’s meetings.

Instead, immigration reform and Mexico’s battle against drug gangs seemed to dominate.

Presidents Obama and Calderon issued a joint statement after their meeting Wednesday that did not specifically mention cross-border trucking but did talk about the importance of “creating a border for the Twenty-First Century” and to look at ways to “facilitate the secure, efficient, and rapid flows of goods and people and reduce the costs of doing business between our two countries.”

The Washington Times reported in the last paragraph of its story:

While the leaders alluded to ongoing trade disputes – such as the U.S. refusal to allow Mexican trucks on American roads, despite the North American Free Trade Agreement – no resolution was announced. Instead, they promised to continue to work through economic sticking points.

Businesses have closed and U.S. exporters have lost market share in the 13 months since Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. products — $2.4 billion worth of products. Before you can solve this problem, you need to acknowledge it as a priority. So far, that hasn’t happened during President Calderon’s state visit.

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