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Mexico sends its first long-haul trucks across the border under NAFTA

Mexico’s first long-haul trucking company received approval to cross the international border and compete with American trucking companies.

A statement from the Mexican Embassy highlighted the first trucking company, Transportes Olympic, successfully completed a U.S. agency pre-authorization safety audit, allowing drivers to deliver their products throughout America.

President Obama pushed agencies to establish a fair, mutually reciprocal trucking program to enhance free trade between U.S. and Mexico. So far three U.S. trucking companies, Plastic Express, A&R Transport Inc. and Stage Coach Cartage & Distribution can operate south of the border.

“Issuance of operating authority to Transportes Olympic is a positive step taken by the United States to come into full compliance with its commitments on long haul cross-border trucking services under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” said Ricardo Alday of the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC. “This latest development in the 16-year-old bilateral trucking dispute follows an agreement announced last March by presidents Calderon and Obama and as a result Mexico will suspend the remaining retaliatory tariffs on 99 U.S. products that Mexico was forced to impose after a previous trucking pilot program was defunded in 2009.”

Mexico contends that their trucking companies are capable of meeting America’s regulatory requirements and operate on the highways safely.

However, many law enforcement agencies say the new program will only make their jobs harder as they will need to decipher what trucks may be carrying illicit drugs in the name of free-trade.

Currently Mexico and America benefit from a $400 billion annual trade relationship and 70 percent of this trade is delivered by long-haul trucking companies.

“Door-to-door delivery services of international cargo represent a step toward a more modern, agile, secure and efficient border as envisioned by both countries in the 21st Century Border Declaration released during President Calderon’s State visit to the US in May of 2010,” Adlay explained. “Given that Mexico is the second largest market for U.S. exports and that the two neighboring nations together produce goods for worldwide consumption, reestablishment of cross-border long-haul trucking services is vital for North America’s competitiveness and for job creation on both sides of our border.”

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