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Mexico retaliates with tariffs on 90 US products

Posted on : 16-03-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico said Monday it will increase tariffs on about 90 U.S. products in retaliation for last week’s decision to end a pilot program that allowed some Mexican trucks to transport goods in the United States.

Economy Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said the U.S. decision violates a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that was supposed to have opened cross-border trucking by January 2000.

“We consider this U.S. action to be wrong, protectionist and a clear violation of the treaty,” Ruiz Mateos told reporters. “By deciding to protect their trucking industry, they have decided to affect other countries and the region.”

The measure will affect about $2.4 billion in trade involving approximately 90 agricultural and industrial products from 40 U.S. states. Ruiz Mateos said the department later this week will publish a list of the products, which he said were chosen to represent a large number of U.S. states and significant trade items.

He did not specify how much tariffs would be increased, but said “the retaliatory measures are the cost the United States is going to have to pay for failing to fulfill its obligations under NAFTA.”

The action alarmed Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. Wheat and beef are two of his states top three exports.

“We’ve got a tough economy. We are going to lose sales, ag sales of exports that we are selling into Mexico and that may well go to other countries,” he said. “If you raise (duties), our wheat or beef may not be competitive to Mexico consumers.”

A pilot program begun in 2007 that had allowed a few Mexican trucks beyond a border buffer zone died last week when President Barack Obama signed a sweeping government bill that barred spending on it.

But the administration says Obama has asked the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to work with the Department of Transportation, State Department and Congress to create a new trucking program.

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NAFTA Surface Trade Crashes

Posted on : 04-03-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : truck driver Industry

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Second consecutive month of large declines, says BTS

Trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, is declining rapidly as the recession deepens.

Surface trade among the NAFTA partners was 13.1 percent lower in December 2008 than in December 2007. The value of goods transferred by rail, road and pipeline in December dropped to $52.9 billion, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. December was the second straight month with a year-to-year decline of greater than 13 percent.

The decline is in stark contrast with the 42.3 percent growth in NAFTA surface trade over the last 10 years.

Surface trade between the United States and Canada was hit hardest, falling to $32.9 billion, down 17 percent compared with a year earlier. The value of imports carried by truck was 15.4 percent lower, while the value of exports carried by truck was 13.7 percent lower.

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