SPECIAL REPORT: Presidents talk cross-border trucking

| 5/19/2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 – The presidents of the United States and Mexico wasted little time in their meetings before the subject of cross-border trucking came up.

Mexico President Felipe Calderón is in the U.S. for a two-day visit, with many closed-door talks regarding the issues facing the United States and Mexico.

In the joint press conference following the first round of meetings this morning, Calderón made it evident that the subject of cross-border trucking did come up.

“This morning we held a broad and fruitful dialogue. We’ve reviewed our bilateral relationships – the problems, the challenges and also the many opportunities that we face,” Calderón told the press.

And, as expected, cross-border trucking was in the mix.

“Together, we should increase our exporting capacity in a contest of growing competitiveness among different regions of the world,” he said. “We talked about the different obstacles that are there for complying with transportation obligations that have been established at NAFTA – a situation that impacts jobs, companies and consumers in Mexico and in the United States.”

Before Calderón’s remarks, Obama told the press that Mexico is one of the United States’ largest trading partners and hinted that some sort of cross-border trucking plan is near.

“Because 80 percent of the trade passes over our land border, we reaffirmed our commitment to a 21st century border that is modern, secure and efficient. … We’re directing our governments to develop an action plan to move in this direction, because our shared border must be an engine, and not a brake, on our economic growth,” Obama said.

The pair issued a joint statement following the press conference that confirmed a trade and transportation plan would be released later in the day. However, as of press time that plan had not been released.

According to Obama, the U.S. and Mexico will form a bilateral executive steering committee to implement a Declaration on Twenty-First Century Border Management, which will be released later today.

“It will include a first-ever binational 24-month plan of action to improve cross-border trade and travel,” Obama said.

In the meantime, the pair continued to meet with a state dinner planned for later tonight. Calderón is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, May 20.