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Mexico Trucking Agreement Reached, Implementation Delayed

September 7, 2011

The United States and Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on July 6, 2011 formally outlining a pilot program to allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate throughout the United States.

Despite concern raised in a recent report by the Inspector General of the U.S. Transportation Department, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is ready for implementation of the U.S. – Mexico cross border trucking program. Some areas of concern in the Transportation Department IG’s report are: clarification of how it will accomplish compliance reviews inside Mexico’s borders, site specific plans for verification of drivers and trucks at the border, implementation plans for electronic on board recorders for pilot program trucks, and training for inspection personnel for the pilot program.

In addition, Department of Transportation (DOT) has stated that approximately 46 Mexican carrier companies will need to participate in the pilot cross-border trucking program before it terminates in three years. A Federal Register notice stated that this “statistically valid sample” must be achieved by the pilot program before a longer-term cross-border trucking program can be implemented. However, analysts suggest that, absent a longer-term cross-border trucking program, Mexico is entitled under NAFTA to re-impose “retaliatory tariffs” on US goods previously lifted.