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8/31/2007
SPECIAL REPORT: Mexico opens its border to U.S. trucks

Friday, Aug. 31, 2007 – The cross-border pilot program between the U.S. and Mexico is halfway there.

The Mexican government published a notice that as of today it would begin granting authority to U.S. carriers that have applied to haul freight into and out of Mexico, according to an article in the Mexican transportation publication T21.

The Aug. 31 implementation date in Mexico closely corresponds with the Sept. 1 target date the U.S. Department of Transportation was rumored to be shooting for. However, the border will not open until Sept. 6, according to court documents filed by the Department of Justice in response to a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the program.

The Mexican government has stuck true to its word.

Numerous press reports throughout the months leading up to the border opening have quoted Mexican government officials citing an “end of August” start date.

The Mexican publication that covers Mexico’s transportation industry reported Aug. 15 that the Secretariat of Communications and Transportes said that the cross-border pilot program was coming by the end of this month.

In a business meeting on Aug. 14, Mexican Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez Kuenzler announced that “necessary conditions” in Mexico are a reality. He also said he had been informed by the U.S. Department of Transportation that 37 Mexican carriers have been evaluated as satisfactory.

T21 also reported that on Aug. 15, Tellez stated through a press release that the necessary conditions existed to develop the project and declared the Mexican government had decided to stick to the proposed start date, which was reported as the last week of August.

Just as U.S. truckers have adamantly objected to the program, so have their counterparts in Mexico.

CANACAR, the trade association representing Mexican motor carriers, asked the Mexican Senate to cancel the cross-border pilot program with the United States back in March.

“CANACAR has formally requested not to open the borders for trans-border services and to have the pilot program suspended until conditions for a fair competitive environment are existing and that the Mexican trucking industry has the guarantee of not being subject to unfair inequitable and discretional treatment by U.S. authorities,” CANACAR National President Tirso Martinez Angheben wrote in a press release.

Angheben appeared before the Communication and Transportation Committee of the Mexican Senate in late March to explain why the transportation industry opposes the opening of trans-border services and the pilot program between the U.S. and Mexico, according to the CANACAR press release.

The group claims the U.S. government has not complied with agreements established in the 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexican trucking companies were not allowed to invest in U.S.-based trucking businesses or allowed to provide services within the U.S.

However, according to the Angheben, U.S.-based trucking companies have invested in infrastructure within Mexico and already have a “commercial presence in our country, which represents a commercial disadvantage of a great importance.”

In the released message, Angheben said he also told the Mexican Senate committee that the regulations facing Mexican trucking companies coming into the U.S. “include uneven regulation for Mexican carriers that will not guarantee a fair competitive market in U.S. territory.”

– By Managing Editor Sandi Soendker and Senior Editor Jami Jones
sandi_soendker@landlinemag.com
jami_jones@landlinemag.com

Mexican news reports and press releases translated by OOIDA’s Stephanie Caswell.

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