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Mexican truck progress = U.S. Jobs

September 4, 2011

by Sean Hackbarth
U.S. Chamber

“[T]wo Mexican trucking companies are on track to receive U.S. operating authority by the end of the month,” the Houston chronicle reports , in “a development that will help hundreds of U.S. companies regain their Mexican customers.” When these carriers receive preliminary operating authority, the last of $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs that have punished U.S. workers and farmers for more than two years will be suspended.

Under an agreement signed in June by the U.S. and Mexican departments of transportation, Mexican long-haul carriers will be allowed to deliver cargo from Mexico into the United States for the first time in more than two years. The move puts the United States on track to fulfill a 15-year old commitment to Mexico. This week, three U.S. carriers were also reauthorized to transport goods into Mexico under the same agreement.

This is a welcome end to a dispute that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found could cost more than 25,000 U.S. jobs. In 2009, Congress ended a pilot project for Mexican trucks that itself was only a partial down payment on a 1994 U.S. agreement to authorize Mexican long-haul carriers. In retaliation, Mexico imposed high tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including paper, cosmetics, pork, dairy, potatoes, and apples, many of which saw their share in the large Mexican market drop precipitously. In many cases, direct competitors in Canada were quick to grab the U.S. share in Mexico.

Today, not just in Mexico, but in countries around the world, the United States, once the dominant player in international trade, is losing market share. For instance, in Colombia, as U.S. Chamber blogger John Murphy notes, U.S. producers of wheat, corn, and soybeans enjoyed a 78% market share in Colombia in 2008 that fell to only 28% by 2010 as other countries entered into preferential trade agreements with Colombia. Canadian producers are about to take the rest of the U.S. share with an agreement that was implemented last month. The United States has its own agreement with Colombia that would put U.S. growers back on an equal footing, but the White House and Congress have thus far failed to put it into effect.

Today’s news on Mexican trucks is a step back in the right direction, though. It’s not too late, with a renewed commitment to economic openness and trade leadership from Washington, for U.S. producers to regain the global competitiveness they once enjoyed. It’s not too late, but the clock is ticking. And U.S. jobs are at stake.

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Discuss this article

hervy September 13, 2011

This is another one of those things where no matter what the good intentions are and who provides their predictions on what will be in the future as the end result of these changes, we can’t see everything to come.

NO ONE knows what unintended consequences may come about but these are the times that we live in. There will be many instances now in life with the advancement of technology and merging of economies that unforeseen issues can enter the picture.

With that being the case. It is absolutely not the time for politicians to stay the course. Things must be done with one intention and with the best judgement of the relevant people. Then an honest attempt to make the agreed upon changes needs to be implemented with full support.

Afterwards, all problems encountered should be dealt with together without placing blame, pointing fingers and dragging out the pain by holding up progress to correction.

Washington, let’s get it together up there. Time for the change we expected.

Do what you think is right for the country and we will see what happens.

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