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Mexico and the United States: Border Controls on Trucks

     The Road to Mexico is not a Bob Hope comedy, witness Tim Brown:
     "Trucks, trucks, trucks. I am very pro-NAFTA and was, if not involved in its drafting, very actively involved on the NAFTA side in the campaign that led to its approval. Yet I am not at all convinced our failure to approve full access for Mexican trucks into the US is a purely political ploy. Congressman Kolbe himself says why. Regardless of any other treaty provision, such as the free movement of trucks, no member of NAFTA is required to lower its public safety, health, phytosanitary or similar standards. The fact is probably most Mexican long haul trucks simply do not come up to US-Canadian standards. Brakes are not inspected as rigorously; tires are not kept with minimal tread; pollution standards are not met, and so forth. Further, too many Mexican truck drivers are not in reality subjected to the same professional training and licensing requirements.
     Insurance is inadequate. Load limits are too often exceeded. I could go on. It would be a valid retort to charge that sometimes US trucks and drivers also violate US standards, but here that is the exception. Having lived, worked professionally and made more than a dozen trips criss-crossing Mexico by road, I would venture to say that in Mexico violations seem almost to be the rule. In my own view, NAFTA requires that Mexico's trucks and drivers come up to our standards, not that we go down to theirs, not on paper but where the rubber actually hits the road."

Ronald Hilton - 4/9/00