U.S. Signals Intention to End Trucking Dispute

After more than a year, the Obama administration has moved on its promise to help fix the trade dispute with Mexico over the cross-border trucking program, a provision contained in the NAFTA agreement. The dispute centers around the nixing of a bush-era program that allowed Mexican trucks to operate north of the border.

Since the cancellation of the program, the Mexican government has slapped the U.S. with over $2 billion in punitive tariffs.

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood delivered a concept plan to congress last week that announced the administrations intention to end the trucking ban. The transportation secretary said a formal proposal could emerge in coming months, and another U.S. official said the goal was to have the nearly two-year-old ban lifted “as soon as possible.”

While the move at least signals that the administration is looking to solve the problem, Mexican officials have called the plan nothing more than an “initiative” and that it would not prompt their government to lift the tariffs.

Mexico is one of the U.S.’s biggest trade partners, and the spat has hampered the Obama administration’s goal of expanding U.S. exports to create jobs.

“If we’re going to double exports within five years, we must hold on to export markets, such as Mexico, where American companies are already doing well,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.

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