Wednesday, March 28, 2007 – A trade association representing Mexican motor carriers has asked the Mexican Senate to cancel the cross-border pilot program with the United States.
“CANACAR has formally requested not to open the borders for trans-border services and to have the pilot program suspended until conditions for a fair competitive environment are existing and that the Mexican trucking industry has the guarantee of not being subject to unfair inequitable and discretional treatment by U.S. authorities,” CANACAR National President Tirso Martinez Angheben wrote in a press release.
Angheben appeared before the Communication and Transportation Committee of the Mexican Senate this past week to explain why the transportation industry opposes the opening of trans-border services and the pilot program between the U.S. and Mexico, according to a press release issued by CANACAR..............................>>
CANACAR is an organization which represents the general interests of the Mexican Trucking industry.
The group claims the U.S. government has not complied
with agreements established in the 1995 North American Free Trade
Agreement. Mexican trucking companies were not allowed to invest in
U.S.-based trucking businesses or allowed to provide services within
However, according to the Angheben, U.S.-based
trucking companies have invested in infrastructure within Mexico and
already have a “commercial presence in our country
… which represents a commercial disadvantage of a great
In the released message, Angheben said he also told
the Mexican Senate committee that the regulations facing Mexican
trucking companies coming into the U.S. “include uneven
regulation for Mexican carriers that will not guarantee a fair
competitive market in U.S. territory.”
Angheben said the pilot program moved forward without
Mexican Senate approval and without input from the Mexican motor
The CANACAR president told the committee that opening
the border will not have any benefits to Mexico because:
- Transportation prices in Mexico are lower than in the USA;
- It will cause transportation prices in Mexico to increase;
- It will not accelerate the border crossing process;
- It will generate strong pressure on salaries paid to
Mexican drivers, which in turn will increase the cost of domestic
freight in Mexico; and
- The Mexican government lacks the capacity and
infrastructure to supervise U.S. carriers entering Mexico and to
prevent foreign companies from providing domestic transportation only
reserved for Mexican nationals.
This isn’t the first time CANACAR has tried to shut down a NAFTA provision.
In 2001, the group petitioned the Mexican Senate to cancel the trucking section of NAFTA.
“The majority of people in the United States
don’t want Mexican trucks to go there, and we told our
president that we don't want to go, either,” said CANACAR
president Manuel Gomez in 2001. “Nor are we interested in
having U.S. trucks come to Mexico.”
Meanwhile, back in the states
Movement to delay the pilot program continues in the U.S.
Senate with the debate of the supplemental appropriations bill. The
bill includes an amendment that would restrict spending any money on
allowing Mexican motor carriers to operate beyond the border zone
until three conditions are met. Those conditions are:
- Granting such authority must first be tested as part of a pilot program;
- The pilot program must comply with the requirements
of Section 350 of the 2002 appropriations legislation and the
requirements of Section 31315(c) of Title 49, United States Code,
related to the pilot programs; and
- Simultaneous and comparable authority to operate
within Mexico is made available to motor carriers domiciled in the
Murray submitted the amendment to the Senate Committee
on Appropriations and it was accepted on a voice vote – with
The only discussion related to the amendment was brought
up by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, one of the co-sponsors of the
amendment. The amendment was also co-sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan,
Feinstein discussed the fairness – or lack
thereof – of allowing Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to
operate within the U.S., while the Mexican government isn’t
ready to allow U.S. motor carriers access to Mexico.
The amendment was introduced because of concerns raised
during a Senate subcommittee hearing on March 8.
Thursday things will also heat up on the House side
of Congress, when Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, will introduce a bill
titled the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Trucking Safety
The NAFTA Trucking Safety Act looks to clarify and
strengthen current regulations imposed on Mexican motor carriers
entering the United States beyond commercial zones along the
– By Jami Jones, senior editor
Staff writer Clarissa Kell-Holland contributed to this report.