The very first Mexican truck is set to enter the United States seventeen years after a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement allowed cargo carriers from the south to carry freight across the border. The provision has faced stiff opposition from lawmakers and union officials alike, with the latest hurdle coming from the Obama Administration. In early 2009, the administration canceled a pilot program that would have had Mexican drivers making deliveries on a trial basis that year. Mexico responded with hefty tariffs on a range of 99 agricultural products worth around $2 billion annually.
Since then, President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have agreed on an inspection and monitoring program for companies intending to operate inside the States. Mexico cut its tariffs in half as a result, and promises to do away with the rest once the first trucks leave the border zone.
Opposition still remains, however. U.S. Representatives Duncan Hunter (R, Calif.) and Bob Filner (D, Calif.) have said they will make a stand at the border in opposition to the program. The two politicians will be joined by Teamsters union President James Hoffa and Todd Spencer, who operates the Independent Drivers Association.
Meanwhile, the long-haul truck operated by Transportes Olympic is scheduled to cross the border at Laredo, Texas, before traveling 450 miles north to Garland Texas. Transportes Olympic says that, by not having to stop, unload goods and reload them on American trucks, the company will be able to save its customers around 15 percent on shipping costs.