Thursday, July 7, 2011

U.S. and Mexico Sign Trucking Deal

Mexican truckers will be able to carry goods deep into the United States, and vice versa, under a deal signed Wednesday in Mexico City to keep a 17-year-old promise.

As part of the deal, Mexico will eliminate tariffs on $2.3 billion of American goods and agricultural products as soon as the first Mexican truck obtains a permit and is allowed to enter the United States. As a preliminary step, the tariffs will be reduced 50 percent by the end of this week.

The United States had refused to honor a condition of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement that allowed Mexican trucks to carry shipments across the border to a final destination. Regulations instead required those trucks to unload shortly after crossing the border. After more than a decade of waiting and negotiating, Mexico retaliated by imposing tariffs in 2009.

In March, President Obama and the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, agreed on a preliminary framework for compromise. Under the terms of the final deal, signed by their transportation secretaries, both sides agreed to drop their barriers for a trial period of three years.

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