July 8, 2011
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the agreement signed today by Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border, long-haul trucking dispute:
"The agreement signed between the governments of Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute is a major win for U.S. agriculture, American jobs and our nation's economic prosperity. President Obama and President Calderon announced a path forward in March to resolve the dispute, and today, the U.S. Department of Transportation-after months of hard work with Mexican counterparts-closed a deal that will provide tariff relief for numerous U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods.
"This dispute has cost U.S. businesses more than $2 billion. For U.S. farm exports to Mexico, exports of affected commodities were reduced by 27 percent. But today, thanks to the persistent work of the administration, we have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs but also provides opportunities to increase U.S. exports to Mexico and helps to expand jobs on both sides of the border. Moreover, the agreement puts the United States and Mexico on equal footing pertaining to our obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement by authorizing Mexican and U.S. long-haul carriers to engage in cross-border operations subject to certain requirements.
"The phase-ins begin on July 8, when Mexico reduces the existing tariffs on U.S. goods by 50 percent. The remaining 50 percent will be suspended within five business days from the date on which the first Mexican carrier receives authorization under the new program. Potentially, we're looking at a total lifting of the punitive tariffs in as little as 45 days. Moreover, Mexican carriers participating in the program are subject to certain requirements that will not allow them to haul domestic cargo between points within the United States, which creates additional opportunities for American businesses and workers.