MEXICO CITY – Mexico should immediately ban imports of “shoddy used trucks” from the United States, the Canacar trucking association said Thursday in a paid newspaper ad.
Canacar called on the economy, communications, transportation, finance and environment departments to halt imports of those vehicles, saying they represent a “threat to the safety of highway users” and “put thousands of jobs at risk.”
Imports of used trucks from abroad reduce Mexico’s competitiveness, Canacar said.
The association recalled that Mexico hosted a U.N. conference on climate change in Cancun last year in which various governments, including President Felipe Calderon’s administration, “pledged to take necessary action to meet the challenges of climate change.”
It added that 20 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector and therefore urged Calderon and his government to promptly implement an initiative known as the Truck Transportation Modernization Program, which is aimed at improving energy efficiency.
Besides the clampdown on imports of used trucks, Canacar wants the government to make new trucks available at affordable prices for those who take older vehicles out of circulation, as well as to provide more support to small Mexican truckers.
Canacar’s call for the ban comes amid a long-running trucking dispute between Mexico and the United States.
In 2009, Washington unilaterally canceled a pilot program – begun two years earlier – that allowed Mexican trucks to carry cargo in U.S. border states. The Mexican government retaliated that same year by slapping tariffs on about 90 U.S. products.
Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexican trucks were to have been able to circulate freely throughout the U.S. roadway system as soon as the trade pact linking the United States, Canada and Mexico went into effect in 1994.
But previous U.S. legislation left Mexican truckers restricted to a narrow strip along the border while the case made its way through the U.S. legal system.
Various interest groups in the United States, including the Teamsters Union and watchdog group Public Citizen, have raised concerns about the safety of Mexican trucks and the competence of Mexico’s truck drivers.
But the Mexican government has always insisted its trucks met U.S. safety standards and that licenses were only issued to qualified professionals, while a 2004 Supreme Court ruling said Washington did not need to carry out an environmental-impact study prior to complying with the relevant NAFTA provision. EFE