||North American Leaders' Summit, Guadalajara, Mexico |
Eagle Forum Correspondent Cathie Adams reporting from Guadalajara, Mexico.
For Immediate Release
|Further Reading: NAU / Mexican Trucks|
|August 8, 2009|
"Protectionist" typically describes opposition to free trade, but when it describes those opposed to Mexican trucks having free access to American roads, it means to protect American families from corruption and bribery. Allowing Mexican trucks and truckers free reign on American roads is not about free trade at all; rather, it is about ignoring the rule of law — even the NAFTA rules.
Mexico has shown a consistent unwillingness to compete FAIRLY with American trucks and truckers who must live under the NAFTA Arbitral Panel 2001 affirmation that the U.S. has a right to "set the level of protection that they consider appropriate in pursuit of legitimate regulatory objectives" including the "safety of trucking services."
American drivers must pass written and driving tests that take into consideration whether the cargo is hazardous materials or people, as well as the weight capacity of the trucks they want to be licensed to drive.
Mexico, however, has no real system of driver training, licensing, drug testing, driver physical requirements, safety inspections even for the brakes, cargo latching security, weight limits or hazardous material protections. As a matter of fact, a Mexican Commercial Driverís License costs $50 and requires no training; it is actually a chauffeur's license.
Bribery is the Mexican mode of operation, even concerning drugs and illegal aliens, as border inspections are almost non-existent. The resulting drug and gang violence has taken over border towns and is now penetrating even small towns across America. Corruption has annihilated the "FAST" automatic entry program where pre-approved drivers pass through with no inspection.
American families are at risk while states pass the regulatory buck to federal law enforcement officials who look the other way allowing Mexican drivers and trucks that lack authority, insurance or logbooks. Mexican truck violations are so numerous that they no longer participate with the U.S. and Canada in a 3-day blitz of randomly inspecting trucks.
Mr. Obama, American families have noted that profits in the Transport Index on Wall Street have grown from 4-5% annually to 18% and more. Tragically, Americans now own much of the Mexican trucking companies, but there is no paper trail to part-ownership.
President Obama, your decisions at this meeting will determine whether corporate profits are more important than the safety of our families and national security. Please do not allow Mexican corruption to destroy American jobs and families, as well as our rule of law.
American truck drivers' salaries have been sliding for years. Office workers have been laid off and their jobs outsourced. Health benefits and bonuses have disappeared.
We know that Mexican drivers donít have Workers Comp, unemployment insurance, Social Security or health benefits, so they cost only 1/3 as much as American drivers. We also know that Mexican drivers make $.13 cents a mile and American and Canadian drivers make around $.40 per mile. This leads to even more corruption, as Mexican drivers are more susceptible to bribery to carry illegal drugs and to traffic humans.
President Obama, please stand firm for FAIR trade and against the Mexican tariffs on 90 U.S. products worth $2.4 billion that exceed by about 200% the price differential between the domestic and imported goods affected. This amounts to extortion.
Finally, Mr. President, American truckers must pay more for clean diesel while Mexican trucks burn dirty diesel, purchased at a price subsidized by their government. American truckersí safety is at risk on the poor Mexican roads. One tennis shoe manufacturer shipped left shoes in one truck and right shoes in another because of highway robberies. Our truckers must travel in caravans for safety; some are armored and armed with escorts for freight.
My hope is that you, as President of the United States, will continue the policy you signed into law that limits Mexican trucks to travel 20 miles north of the border and no further. FAIR trade must protect Americanís safety and our national security.
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