Following the conclusion of a three-year pilot program designed to evaluate the safety of Mexican trucks on U.S. highways, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has decided to open its roads to that country’s freight carriers. The decision by USDOT ends a controversy that has raged for more than a decade since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.
Under that trade agreement, both the U.S. and Mexico were required to open their respective roads to each other as a way of promoting trade and better relations between the two countries. However, due to opposition, mostly from the Teamsters, that provision was never enacted. The pilot program was eventually put in place to monitor Mexican trucks doing long-haul border runs. As a result of the pilot, USDOT said “that companies from Mexico had violation, driver, and vehicle out-of-service rates that met the level of safety as American and Canadian-domiciled motor carriers."
The move is expected to lead to a permanent end to retaliatory tariffs put in place by Mexico as a result of the ban. Those tariffs affected over $2 billion in U.S. imports.