Obama Promises Solution to Mexico Trucking Conflict After Meeting Calderon

http://whatreallyhappened.com/ Commentary:

The question is, just how is Obama looking to resolve this?

The unrestricted delivery of materials from Mexico to the US will be great for the corporations whose products will be shipped across the border, and potentially catastrophic for American truckers, both union and independent.

Who’s going to inspect the trucks for safety?

What about the insurance on these vehicles, and what happens if they get involved in an accident?

Who is going to certify that each driver drives well enough, and speaks English well enough to be permitted to drive in the US?

And just how is the program going to be paid for, considering that the US is dead broke, and that state of dead broke isn’t going to go away any time soon.

http://whatreallyhappened.com/

“Two suspicious ass looking motherfuckers if you ask me.”

-F.F. 8/9/09

obama-calderon

By Nicholas Johnston and Jens Erik Gould

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama told his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon that he is committed to resolving a dispute over truck access to U.S. highways.

Obama said he will also address safety concerns about the trucks raised by the U.S. Congress, an administration official said after the two leaders met in Guadalajara yesterday at a summit of North American leaders. Calderon told Obama that the dispute has hurt trade, raised consumer costs and reduced job creation, according to a statement from his press office.

Removing restrictions that prevent Mexican trucks from delivering goods across the border has been a top issue for Calderon since the U.S. Congress, citing safety concerns, ended a pilot program in March that allowed some trucks access. Mexico retaliated by imposing $2.4 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods after the program ended, affecting companies such as Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest household-products maker.

U.S. exporters such as Appleton Papers Inc. of Appleton, Wisconsin, and Mary Kay Inc., the Dallas-based cosmetics seller, have urged Obama to reach an agreement to put Mexican trucks back on U.S. roads and end the tariffs imposed on makers of paper, batteries, toothpaste and grapes.

Closely held Appleton is a member of the Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs, a group of companies formed to fight the tariffs. Other members include Caterpillar Inc., Smithfield Foods Inc. and PepsiCo Inc.

Nafta and Trucks

As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. agreed to allow Mexican trucks unrestricted access to deliver goods in the U.S., a pledge it has never fully honored because safety advocates and union officials say Mexico’s trucks and drivers don’t meet U.S. standards. Nafta rules would also have allowed Mexican trucks to pick up cargo to return to Mexico.

Around 4,500 Mexican trucking companies represented by the National Freight Transportation Chamber, known as Canacar, said in June they were seeking $6 billion in compensation from the U.S. because of the trucking conflict, alleging its northern neighbor wasn’t complying with Nafta.

In 2008, the U.S. and Mexico had $368 billion in trade, making Mexico the third-largest U.S. trading partner after Canada and China, according to the Commerce Department.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is sharing a set of principles about the truck dispute with the Mexican government and with members of the U.S. Congress, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a speech today in Washington.

“LaHood is trying to shop those principles to both sides,” Locke told the Council of the Americas, a business group whose members support free trade and open markets.

After their meeting, Obama and Calderon joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for dinner and a performance by a mariachi troupe. The three plan more meetings today.

Drug Fight

Calderon and Obama also discussed cooperation on fighting drug cartels through the Merida Initiative, a three-year, $1.1 billion package of aid to Mexico that includes helicopters, intelligence sharing, and police training.

The U.S. is withholding 15 percent of the Merida funds until the State Department deems that Mexico has made progress on human rights. In today’s meeting, Obama underscored the importance of human rights and said Mexican progress on the issue will aid its fight against the drug cartels, the U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Obama and Calderon also discussed the importance of coordination before a possible rebound of the deadly H1N1 swine flu, the Mexican statement said. The two presidents agreed to synchronize efforts to track the spread of the disease and prepare for outbreaks, the U.S. official said.

Swine Flu

In May, the swine flu outbreak battered the Mexican economy as the government closed schools and restaurants, and foreign tourism revenue plunged. The flu may reduce Mexico’s gross domestic product 0.5 percent this year, according to central bank Governor Guillermo Ortiz.

Mexico recorded 146 deaths from swine flu among 17,416 total cases, the health ministry said Aug. 4. There were 43,771 cases worldwide of H1N1 flu and 302 deaths as of July 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Canada’s Harper told Calderon during a meeting yesterday that he won’t lift a requirement that Mexicans obtain visas before visiting the country. Canada announced the rule last month after a surge in refugee claims from Mexico.

The visa rule “has nothing to do with our bilateral relationship or broader issues; it is simply a control measure while we have problems in the refugee system,” Harper told reporters after the meeting. “It is not the fault of the government of Mexico, very clearly. This is a problem of the Canadian refugee law.”

Harper said he hopes Canadian lawmakers will work to streamline the way refugee claims are dealt with. Harper is in a minority government and needs support from opposition lawmakers to amend the immigration system.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aiVLrrhUWbiU

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