Obama administration takes first step in resolving Mexican trucking dispute
by Joan Murphy | January 06, 2011
Relief may be on the way for U.S. produce companies hit hard by steep
Mexican tariffs as the U.S. Department of Transportation on Jan. 6 released a
"concept document," a first step in resolving the cross border trucking
Mexico placed $2 billion in tariffs on a range of U.S. products after Congress
shut down the funding for a pilot program that allowed a small number of
Mexican trucks to enter the United States. Congress since removed the
funding ban but the tariffs continued as the Obama administration had yet to
finalize a plan for a new pilot program.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that the new document is a starting
point in resolving the dispute and addressing safety concerns, and that a
formal document would be announced in the coming months.
“We welcome this news as a positive first step in resolving a serious problem
that has been detrimental to many of our growers and shippers in California
and Arizona,” said Western Growers Association President and Chief Executive
Officer Tom Nassif, who said that Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack
telephoned him Jan. 6 with the news.
“It is our hope that the United States government will reach a favorable
agreement with Mexico and that the U.S. Congress will be ready and willing to
consider and support a plan that is reasonable and fair,” he said.