The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued the details of a new phased-in pilot program that aims to settle a long-running dispute over Mexican trucks operating beyond U.S. border zones.

Mexico currently imposes tariffs of 5-15 percent on $2.4 billion worth of agricultural goods imported from the United States in retaliation for the United States not allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to operate beyond U.S. border zones, as required under the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Under a draft agreement that the two sides announced in March, Mexico is to reduce these tariffs by 50 percent when a final agreement is signed and suspend the remaining 50 percent when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority under the pilot.  The final agreement is likely to be signed late May or early June, once comments on the pilot program have been received and considered.

The pilot program would allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate throughout the United States for up to three years and U.S.-domiciled motor carriers would be granted reciprocal rights to operate in Mexico for the same period, according to FMCSA.  Participating Mexican carriers and drivers would be required to comply with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations, including those concerned with motor carrier safety, customs, immigration, vehicle registration and taxation, and fuel taxation.  The safety of the participating carriers would be tracked closely by FMCSA with input from a federal advisory committee.

The Federal Register notice is available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-8846.pdf.  Comments are due by May 13.

 

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