U.S., Mexico sign trucking agreements

July 6, 2011 at 3:50 PM
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MEXICO CITY, July 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his Mexican counterpart signed agreements resolving a dispute over long-haul, cross-border trucking services.

The new program, signed Wednesday in Mexico City by LaHood and Mexico's secretary of communications and transportation, Arturo Perez-Jacome Friscione, paves the way for Mexico to lift retaliatory tariffs it imposed more than two years ago on more than $2 billion in U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products, the U.S. Transportation Department said in a release.

Mexico will suspend 50 percent of the retaliatory tariffs within 10 days and the remaining tariffs within five days of the first Mexican trucking company receiving its U.S. operating authority, officials said.

The tariffs are expected to disappear within a few months, Transportation officials said.

"The agreements signed today are a win for roadway safety and they are a win for trade," LaHood said. "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."

Trucks from Mexico must comply with U.S. motor vehicle safety standards and must have electronic monitoring systems to track hours-of-service compliance, U.S officials said. Also, the department will review the driving record of each driver, require drug testing samples to be analyzed in Department of Health and Human Services-certified laboratories and require an assessment of a driver's ability to understand English and U.S. traffic signs.

The agreements also ensure Mexico will provide reciprocal authority for U.S. carriers to engage in cross-border long-haul operations into Mexico, LaHood said.

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