OOIDA Attacks US Mexico Cross Border Trucking Deal
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Today, we put the spotlight on the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association and its position on the Mexican/US cross border truck deal:
The Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) vehemently opposes the cross border trucking deal which will now see Mexican operators and trucks on America's highways. President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have announced that a cross border trucking deal is now 'imminent'. The cross border, despite assurances from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) that such as scheme would be a 'pilot', has no-one pretending it is anything other than a permanent arrangement.
OOIDA has not yet been able to establish when the finalized agreement will be published (nor has anyone else), though the USDOT is thought to be looking to publish the agreement in the Federal Register towards the end of March, or within April at the latest.
OOIDA's Vice President Todd Spencer made it clear that the proposed agreement does not meet with approval from OOIDA. OOIDA makes the very valid point that the deal flies in the face of the Obama Administration's promise to help small businesses through the recession as we move into recovery. The cross border deal is guaranteed to see American trucking jobs taken by Mexican drivers and operators, not least because they are able to do business from a much reduced cost base compared to US-counterparts.
Typically, a Mexican driver makes around a third of a US driver. At a time when customers are looking to save money wherever they can, the cross border trucking deal means that it is inevitable that American trucking jobs will also head south of the border.
One aspect of the deal which is being used by proponents to support it is that the arrangement is reciprocal. US truckers will be granted the right to haul across the border into Mexico. At a time when that country is in a near-state of anarchy, given the drug cartel's declaration of war on the Mexican government, it is highly doubtful that any trucker would want to risk driving valuable cargo on Mexico's roads.
Trucking safety is a huge issue. Mexican truckers and carriers have a much reduced cost base to operate from because they spend so little on trucking safety and compliance. This contrasts sharply with the safety investment made by the US trucking industry, which is demonstrated in all-time lows in tractor trailer incidents, injuries and fatalities. Even with the installation of Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs) in Mexican trucks, incidentally, paid for by the US government, safety standards are going to be a very serious issue. Allowing Mexican trucks and truckers on America's roads is endangering other road users.
The reason for implementing the deal is nothing more than money. Mexico retaliated to the closing of the previous cross-border program by implementing a series of highly punitive tariffs on US imports. These tariffs will be withdrawn with the implementation of the cross border trucking deal – it is simply blackmail and bullying.
"Mexico's economic bullying tactics should not be tolerated." Says OOIDA's Spencer, "The onus is on Mexico to raise the safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry [and we] should not allow ourselves to be harassed into lowering our standards."