NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teamsters Cite Safety To Keep Out Mexican Trucks

January 10, 2000

The North American Free Trade Agreement provides that Mexican trucks and buses will be permitted to travel anywhere north of the border beginning January 1, 2000. But the Clinton administration has bowed to pressure from the Teamsters Union and delayed opening the border.

That move has Mexican officials very upset, claiming the U.S. has violated the 1993 pact.

  • White House aides say the decision was made on safety concerns -- claiming that 41 percent of Mexican vehicles failed safety inspections at the border while they were transferring goods to American vehicles.
  • Although White House officials deny that the decision has anything to do with building teamster political support for Vice President Al Gore, some industry officials believe the border will remain closed until after the November election
  • In December 1995, President Clinton decided against letting Mexican trucks beyond a narrow border zone where they are allowed and into all of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona -- as was called for by NAFTA.
  • Trucks carry 90 percent of the goods traded between Mexico and the U.S. -- and Mexican drivers are often paid just $2 an hour, compared to $18 an hour earned by many American drivers.

Source: Steven Greenhouse, "U.S. Delays Opening Border to Trucks from Mexico," New York Times, January 8, 2000.


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