By: Leyla T. Berlanga
Last week, a Mexican cargo truck carrying electronic equipment and destined for Garland, Texas, was the first truck to enter the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA permits Mexican cargo trucks to travel beyond the previous boundary of 6 to 25 miles wide on the U.S. side of the border.
Mexican cargo trucks have crossed into the U.S. in recent years as part of a short-lived pilot program that began in 2007, and which was canceled by the Obama administration in 2009. Mexico retaliated by placing higher tariffs on a wide range of goods, such as dairy items, pork, and even Christmas trees.
Canadian cargo trucks have been granted full access to driving into the United States since the early 1980’s.
5 things you should know concerning the requirements the Mexican truck drivers will face are:
1: Mexican truck emissions must meet U.S. clean air standards, and Mexican truck companies and drivers must submit to U.S. security checks
2: Mexican truck drivers must demonstrate competency in English, to show they can read road signs, as well as communicate with police, if necessary
3: Mexican trucks will be required to purchase U.S. liability insurance
4: Electronic monitoring systems will track how many hours the trucks are in service while in the U.S.
5: Drivers must pass drug tests
From an economic point of view, American companies will be affected…whether the impact will be negative or positive is yet to be seen. I think it’s safe to say that Mexican trucking companies will face a number of competitive disadvantages when carrying international cargo into the interior of the United States. I do think this is a step in the right direction as far as Mexico and U.S. relations are concerned; but do you think this is all coming to pass at the right time for both countries?