The debate still rages over the controversial cross-border trucking plan.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary recently released a statement to Congress urging that the plan continue.
According to the Department of Transportation…
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters today cautioned Congress that now is not the time to halt efforts to implement trucking provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is delivering economic benefits to U.S. workers, farmers, businesses and consumers.
Secretary Peters said a broad coalition of more than 69 U.S. companies and agricultural and business organizations support the project because of the benefits it provides to U.S. exporters who every year ship billions worth of products and produce into Mexico. Should Congress choose to end the project, Mexico has the right under the rules of NAFTA to impose fees and tariffs on U.S. goods that would surely result in lost business and lost jobs, she said.
“Whatever their reason, this is no time to let the politics of pessimism dim the promise of prosperity for hundreds of thousands of American drivers, growers and manufacturers. We should be looking for every chance to open new markets for our drivers, to find new buyers for our products, and encourage new consumers for our produce,” Secretary Peters said.
In other news relating to cross-border trucking program, SignonSanDiego.com reports that the problem might be too few trucks. According to the Article, The DOT Office of Inspector General reports that that only 16 Mexican trucking companies are involved with the cross-border program. 100 were expected to participate. The number of participating carriers might be too small to show valid results from the program.
According to the DOT Office of Inspector General website…
On March 10, 2008, we issued our Interim Report on NAFTA Cross-Border Trucking Demonstration Project, as required by legislation enacted in May 2007. By law, we are required to issue an interim report at the six-month point of the demonstration project, which was initiated on September 6, 2007, and a final report 60 days after the conclusion of the project.
Our audit found that at the 6-month point, fewer Mexican carriers and vehicles have participated in the project than expected. The low number of carriers currently participating is not sufficient to provide reliable statistical projections regarding safety attributes of Mexican carriers. The Department has established and is supporting an independent panel to assess any adverse safety impacts from the project; however, the panel is also concerned that it will have insufficient data when the project ends.