Under NAFTA, Mexican big rigs are supposed to be allowed entry into the U.S., but Congressional representatives have "thrown up repeated roadblocks," as Jason Lange and Adriana Barrera report for Reuters.
Presumably, among opponents' reasons to keep Mexican big rigs off the roads would be for safety and preventing big rig crashes, but part of the deal, as recently announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, requires electronic monitoring on big rigs entering the U.S. from Mexico in order to track hours-of-service.
This electronic monitoring is similar to that imposed on U.S. truckers under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, much of which is still being argued as too costly for trucking companies to implement.
Nonetheless, the requirements make sense from a safety standpoint. Any trucker, regardless of where he or she is from, should comply with requirements that are meant to keep the roads safe.
In return for allowing Mexican trucks to operate on U.S. roadways, Mexican leaders intend to reduce duties on U.S. goods by half. (Mexico imposed duties on several different U.S. goods after Congress blocked Mexican trucks in 2009.)
As Lange and Barrera report, LaHood said, "The agreements signed today are a win for roadway safety and they are a win for trade. By opening the door to long-haul trucking between the United States and Mexico, America's third largest trading partner, we will create jobs and opportunity for our people and support economic development in both nations."
Source: Reuters, "Mexico to cut duties on U.S. after trucking deal," by Jason Lange and Adriana Barrera, 07/06/11