U.S. Exporters, ATA Welcome Mexican Carrier’s Operating Clearance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s decision to allow a Mexico-based carrier to operate in the United States received praise from U.S. groups whose exports to Mexico will soon be free from retaliatory tariffs.

“We’re obviously very, very pleased,” John Keeling, executive vice president of the National Potato Council, told Transport Topics.

Retaliatory tariffs on potatoes caused the U.S. industry to lose about half of its $50 million in annual sales to Mexico before the tariffs were rotated and sales increased slightly, Keeling said.

FMCSA said Friday it granted operating authority to Transportes Olympic, the first Mexican carrier to enter the new cross-border trucking pilot program.

The Embassy of Mexico said later that day it would remove the remaining tariffs it had put on 99 U.S. products after the last cross-border trucking program ended in 2009.

“America’s pork producers are pleased that the United States is living up to its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement by allowing Mexican trucks to haul goods into our country,” Doug Wolf, president of the National Pork Producers Council, said in a statement.

American Trucking Associations also welcomed the end of the dispute.

“We’re pleased that after years of delay, and untold billions in economic damage, the Obama administration has found a way to live up to our obligations” under Nafta, ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.

Dan England, ATA’s new chairman, said the lifting of the tariffs will benefit his company, refrigerated carrier C.R. England, based in Salt Lake City.

C.R. England exports to Mexico many products that were subject to the tariffs, England said.

But opponents of the program were out in full force after Friday’s announcement.

“As I have said many times, a cross-border trucking program stands to have significant impacts on safety, security and job loss,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House subcommittee on highways, said in a statement. “Until these impacts are fully addressed, we should put the brakes on cross-border operations.”

The Teamsters union and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which have vehemently opposed the cross-border trucking program, are planning a press conference Wednesday near the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa, Calif., to protest FMCSA’s decision.


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