Skip to comments.Broken pact; Mexico expected to ban U.S. truck drivers
Posted on 12/21/2007 6:12:50 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
Retaliation is expected by the Mexican government in response to a decision this week by the U.S. Congress to stop the cross-border trucking pilot program for long-haul Mexican transport companies.A provision included in the all-inclusive omnibus spending bill passed Wednesday cuts funding for the pilot program that began in September. It was an attempt to test a stipulation that is required by the North American Free Trade Agreement that has not yet been implemented.
The year-long program planned to allow up to 100 Mexican trucking companies to travel throughout the United States instead of being limited to the 20- to 25-mile border commercial zones. The same number of U.S. trucking companies are allowed, for the first time, to make deliveries throughout Mexico.
During a phone conference Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he believes that with appropriate safety measures in place to support cross-border trucking, the pilot program was a move toward improving trade and, in turn, the Mexican economy.
"I think we've done ourselves some harm," Cornyn said. "If it's a treaty obligation with the United States, it's the law."
Cornyn said in recent conversations with other officials he has heard that retaliation from Mexico is expected because the United States failed to hold up its end of the bargain.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said this now starts a "pull and tug between the two countries."
"I think if the Mexicans are not allowed to come into the U.S. then I can see definitely the Mexicans are going to do the same to Americans," Cuellar said.
Because of NAFTA, Cuellar said it is a program that must eventually establish permanently.
"A treaty will take precedent to some of the things that Congress might want to do with this," Cuellar said.
Highway safety is the top reason cited by pilot program opponents. When the first Mexican trucks began crossing the border, Teamsters protested in Laredo and elsewhere.
Leslie Miller, spokeswoman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the organization is "ecstatic" about Congress' decision.
"Personally, I hear from a lot of Teamster truck drivers who view the drivers from Mexico as very unsafe," Miller said. "We don't think the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has the ability right now to make sure that safety is enforced."
The safety administration said when it launched the program all Mexican trucking companies were required to pass rigorous tests, including drug and alcohol tests for drivers. The drivers are also held to the same hours of service standards that U.S. drivers must follow and each truck is inspected when it crosses the border, FMCSA said.
A study completed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which Miller said has joined with the Teamsters, conducted a study from September 2006 to September 2007, the year preceding the pilot program. The study identified that Mexican trucks had 1,700 safety violations, Miller said.
"We'd like to see NAFTA repealed," Miller said. "Just because we have a so-called agreement doesn't mean that Mexican companies can come to our country and break our law.
"It (NAFTA) has nothing to do with Mexican truck drivers," she added. "In our view, NAFTA isn't about trade. NAFTA's about cheap labor."
According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, 55 Mexican trucks from 10 different companies have received clearance to operate in the United States. Four U.S. companies with a total of 41 trucks are cleared to travel into Mexico.
There are dozens more on the list, said Melissa DeLaney, spokeswoman for the FMCSA, but the Mexican companies are first strictly evaluated and must activate insurance through a U.S. carrier.
DeLaney said the department is evaluating the situation for cross-border trucking.
"We're trying to figure out what those next steps will be," DeLaney said.
Cuellar said there may be the potential to "shift dollars around" to continue the program.
"The administration could find another way of doing this," Cuellar said.
If not, cross-border trucking for Mexican companies is at a standstill for a year, he said.
"This is a tactic that they use," Cuellar said. "If the Congress is not happy with something and they can't change the law they say, OK, the law's there but we're not going to fund it.'"
While Cuellar and Cornyn voted in favor of the omnibus bill, they agreed that with all-inclusive spending legislation, not everything in there is favorable to a single legislator.
"The omnibus had some things in it that I found objectionable," Cornyn said. "But I'm not sure that can ever be the standard by which all appropriations are determined because invariably there's going to be something in an appropriation bill that is a must-pass bit of legislation."
(Ashley Richards may be reached at 728-2538 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Agree. Let’s cancel their “Get Into The Country FREE’ Card!
I had heard that JB Hint and Schneider were making regular trips into Mexico...did I miss something ?
What else is new?
Lock down the border.
My mother drives for Schneider and she’s telling me right now from my living room that Schneider hasn’t been allowed into mexico for many years. They have a big transfer point in Laredo but the trucks don’t cross the border because they’re too expensive to replace.
LOLOLOL I just read the headline to my wife whom has worked the past 30 years for this Nations largest (Non-Union) truckload carrier, and her response still has me laughing.
“HELL...WE DON’T GO DOWN THERE ANYWAY, SO WHAT!”
She went on to say let ‘em ban us, who cares.
One would have to be crazy to risk operating in that country, not only life and limb, but risk of losing assets as well.
That's got to be more risky than delivering pizzas in the wrong part of town. I suspect Mexican drivers coming north are a lot safer than US drivers going south. I'm talking about their own personal safety.
baffles me that we spent so much effort cleaning up Iraq, when we got a major roach pit right in the backyard
Schneider hasnt been allowed into mexico for many years. They have a big transfer point in Laredo but the trucks dont cross the border because theyre too expensive to replace.”
A family that was working the Baja 1000 as mobile pit crew got pulled over by “official looking dudes” on their way back from Baja. They were driven up into the mountains, left on their own, and their $70,000+++ truck and trailer hasn’t been seen since. They had to walk for hours to get back to the place where they were stopped. Not sure they will ever go to Baja 1000 ever again. Been going for years...
No prob. Just rull all the drivers SS numbers. Any two or more names that have idential SS numbers would jump at the chance to get a paid trip to their home country with a free pass to get back in the US.
Too damned dangerous. Insurance won’t cover without a special rider, anyway.
“Aside from a handfull of owner operators I wish them lots of luck finding American drivers who go to mexico.”
You are so right on cripplecreek, and those O/O’s that do go down there are Mexican’s anyway, so let them pay the bribes and put up with the bandits.
I have no idea how THAT one happened...
My brother in law was a truck driver, he said pretty much the same thing about N.Y.C., that many truckers would not go there.
His own experience there, which I found a bit humorous but he didn't, was that he had to double park for 5 minutes and asked a meter maid if it was ok, she said, sure, go ahead. He went in whereever and came out 5 minutes later to find a very expensive parking ticket on the windshield, his side window was smashed and his brief case was stolen.
But you should know, Cornyn, that NAFTA is NOT a treaty. It was never ratified as a treaty. It is a LAW. And because it's a LAW, and NOT a TREATY, it can be changed quite easily, IF the traitors in congress and senate only had America's interests at heart, rather than your own lined pockets.