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  1. #1
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    Default Mexican Trucking Trade Dispute

    By ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON
    WASHINGTON—As President Barack Obama renews his focus on trade in a quest for job growth, a festering dispute with Mexico hints at the political battles ahead.

    Over the past several weeks Mr. Obama has vowed to push for passage of pending free-trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia, and seek other trade opportunities. Yet shortly after taking office, Mr. Obama signed a bill with a provision that effectively bans Mexican trucks from operating inside the U.S. The ban violates the North American Free Trade Act, and prompted Mexico to impose punitive tariffs last year on $2.4 billion in American products—from Christmas trees and potatoes to wine.

    Mr. Obama could reverse the ban without the approval of Congress, but that would infuriate many Democrats and trucking and other unions that are critical supporters in a tough election year.

    On Thursday, the two major business groups in the capital said progress on the trucking issue would signal that Mr. Obama is moving beyond rhetorical support for free trade.

    "This is an important benchmark of the administration's willingness to put some action behind its stated goals of doubling U.S. exports," says Patrick Kilbride, director of the Americas program at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has advocated for an end to the ban.

    John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, which includes chief executives of the biggest U.S. multinationals, said Thursday that while he takes Mr. Obama's intentions to pursue trade opportunities "at face value," the proof of the White House's seriousness will come when the fight to pass the free trade agreements begins in Congress, a battle expected no earlier than December.

    "Will they do what other administrations have had to do with a Democratic Congress and that's twist arms to get votes?" Mr. Castellani says. "That's the real test."

    The Mexican government is using Mr. Obama's renewed pledges on trade to demand action now.

    "If we don't see a concrete proposal from the U.S. in the next few weeks, Mexico will exercise its legal rights, which include expanding the list of products subject to retaliation," a Mexican government official said Thursday.

    Mexico said it won't be enough to reinstate an expired pilot program, a compromise that temporarily gave Mexican trucks access to the U.S.

    White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Thursday that the administration is "committed to working closely with Congress and with the Mexican government to find a resolution that addresses legitimate safety concerns and complies with our international obligations." A spokeswoman for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who said in March the government would act soon, echoed that statement.

    Mr. Obama has vowed for a year to resolve the dispute, but done little. Free-trade advocates, including agricultural businesses hurt by the tariffs, say U.S. law would apply to Mexican truckers, and the ban is more a protectionist measure than a safety issue.

    Advocates for the ban, including the Teamsters union, say it is needed because Mexican trucks and drivers are potentially unsafe.

    "If we were to 'settle' this trucking dispute this would only increase the trade deficit with Mexico, which is up to 59% in January through March," said Robert E. Scott, senior international economist at the Economic Policy Institute, which opposes passage of the free-trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...529637834.html
    Last edited by slavenomore; 07-11-2010 at 04:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mexican Trucking Trade Dispute

    Link?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mexican Trucking Trade Dispute

    Quote Originally Posted by RedRollingRoadblock View Post
    Link?
    I edited it. It's in there now...I was in the middle of posting alot of articles and must have missed that one.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mexican Trucking Trade Dispute

    Since March Transportation Secretary LaHood has said twice that a settlement on this was close. Guess it shows how slow government moves.

 

 

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