Skip to comments.Flu outbreak to loom over U.S.-Mexico truck dispute
Posted on 04/27/2009 12:24:00 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
GENEVA (Reuters) The prompt resolution of a 15-year old dispute over access to U.S. roads by Mexican trucks could be another casualty of the deadly swine flu outbreak, international trade experts said on Monday.
Increased health checks to control the virus, which has killed 103 people in Mexico and infected at least 20 in the United States, could also slow the passage of goods across the busy but troubled U.S.-Mexico border, they said.
The United States imported around $216 billion of goods from Mexico in 2008, making its southern neighbor its third-largest trading partner after Canada and China, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Earlier this month while on an official trip to Mexico, U.S. President Barack Obama told officials he was prepared to move fast to open U.S. roads to Mexican trucks and resolve a dispute dating to the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
John Weekes, an international trade law expert at Sidley Austin in Geneva, who was Canada's chief negotiator for NAFTA, said that public health concerns could dampen Washington's enthusiasm about ending the dispute and easing the passage of goods from Mexico.
White & Case law partner Brendan McGivern said neither growing drug violence around the border area nor the swine flu outbreak should impact how the trucking dispute is resolved -- but that it may impact when it is settled.
While the United States is committed to open its roads under NAFTA, its safety rules have required that goods shipped by road from Mexico be transported on U.S. trucks. This often requires cargo to be moved at the border from Mexican to U.S. vehicles.
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The Lord works in mysterious ways.
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