Federal Update
Trade rep: cross-border program with Mexico would end tariff dispute

By Jami Jones
senior editor


If the U.S. is looking for an easy quick fix to the tariff dispute with Mexico, it may mean launching yet another cross-border trucking program, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk delivered that message July 1 in a letter to Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.

The letter was in response to Sherman’s urging the Trade Representative Office to act on the tariffs Mexico slapped on $2.3 billion worth of U.S. goods because the cross-border program had been shut down.

Sherman questioned whether the tariffs were legal under NAFTA – since the tariff revenue exceeds the financial impact to Mexico by shutting down the cross-border program.

Kirk did not respond whether the $427 million in tariff revenue was legal under NAFTA, but rather said the easiest way to end the dispute was to start another program.

OOIDA remains strong on its position that the safety of U.S. highway users cannot be sold or compromised by throwing a program together to appease Mexico.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston pointed that out in a letter to President Barack Obama. He stressed that the U.S. is not under any sort of obligation to lower safety standards or regulatory compliance for Mexican trucks.

Johnston wrote that NAFTA gives the U.S. “the right to ‘adopt, maintain or apply any standards-related measure, including any such measure relating to safety, the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, the environment or consumers, and any measure to ensure its enforcement or implementation’ provided that such measures must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner.” LL