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Mexican truckers also have concerns

September 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — A private organization representing most of Mexico's freight haulers demanded Thursday that the government suspend a pilot program allowing long-haul trucks from the U.S. and Mexico to operate deep inside the other country, saying it leaves Mexican truckers at a competitive disadvantage.

Tirso Martinez, president of the group known by its Spanish acronym Canacar, said Mexico's Transportation Department had not resolved traffic bottlenecks for Mexican trucks trying to cross the U.S. border and lacked the personnel to enforce a provision prohibiting U.S. truckers from carrying domestic Mexican cargo, among other issues.

"The Mexican government has not negotiated the conditions that will permit freight haulers to compete on equal terms with its counterparts in the United States," Martinez said at a news conference. "Therefore, we demand that the Transportation Department suspend the launch of this pilot program . . . because it is not prepared to carry it out."

Until last week, Mexican trucks were restricted to a narrow commercial zone along the border. The pilot program is gradually allowing up to 100 Mexican carriers to send their trucks on U.S. roadways. The Mexican government also has committed itself to allowing trucks from as many as 100 U.S. companies to travel anywhere in Mexico.

The program is also encountering stiff opposition in the U.S.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved a measure to prohibit the Transportation Department from spending money on the pilot program. The measure is part of a $106-billion transportation and housing spending bill that the Senate is to vote on soon. The House approved a similar provision in July.

The Teamsters union argues that Mexican trucks are not safe for U.S. highways.

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