The United States and Mexican governments have announced an agreement in principal to end a 20 year ban on Mexican trucks entering the United States. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994, Mexican truckers were suppose to be permitted to transport goods into the United States. However, since the enactment of NAFTA, Congress passed a series of laws to deny Mexican truckers the ability to drive into the United States. As a result of these laws, NAFTA ruled that Mexico could impose punitive tariffs. Despite NAFTA making this ruling in the late 1990s, the tariffs were not instituted until 2009.
Under the tentative deal reached by both countries, Mexican trucks will have to meet requirements equal to (and in some cases tougher than) those imposed on American truckers. One of the more stringent requirements is that Mexican trucks must carry electronic recorders to ensure they only drive between the United States and Mexico and not domestically. Additionally, the electronic records must track compliance with the United States’ hour of service laws. Mexican truckers most also speak English and pass drug and safety tests.
It i s hoped that the Department of Transportation will have the proposed agreement available for public notice and comment by April. Upon completing the comment period, the agreement would be formalized between the nations. Under the agreement in principal, once the formal agreement is signed, half of the tariffs imposed on the United States will be suspended. The remainder of the tariffs will be lifted when the first Mexican carrier complies with certification requirements. It is estimated that $2.4 billion of United States goods would be subjected to the Mexican tariffs annually.
— Erik Anderson, Esq.
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