The Obama Administration, Congress Urged To Meet Mexican Trucking Trade Obligations

The National Potato Council (NPC) is calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to either reinstate the funding required to continue the pilot program allowing Mexican trucks into a limited area within U.S. border states or to quickly develop an alternative program that is consistent with U.S. trade obligations to Mexico. The current pilot program was developed to satisfy a 2001 arbitration panel’s decision which found the U.S. was not fulfilling its NAFTA trucking commitments.

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In the Omnibus spending bill to fund FY 2009 government programs, Congress eliminated funding for this pilot program. This action by Congress, coupled with the arbitration panel’s earlier decision allowed Mexico to exercise its right to retaliate against U.S. imports. Mexico is the third largest market for U.S. frozen potato exports, and this level was achieved with constant and consistent growth in exports since NAFTA’s implementation.

“The U.S. has enjoyed a very high market share in Mexico for frozen potato products,” said NPC President Ed Schneider. “Congress’ decision to eliminate this funding is particularly ironic in light of the hundreds of billions of dollars it recently approved and spent on behalf of economic stimulus programs to create jobs. Not honoring our trade commitments jeopardizes America’s trading future, increases job losses and further damages our economy.” Schneider is a farmer from Pasco, WA, and grows potatoes supplied to the frozen potato processing market.

Frozen potato products from the U.S. will now be at a 20% tariff disadvantage to Canadian products which will remain at the zero tariff established by NAFTA. According to United States Potato Board (USPB) International Marketing Vice President John Toaspern, it is estimated that U.S. exports of frozen potato products will decline by roughly 25% in the short term (April-June), 30% in the midterm (July-September) and 30 to 40% in the longer term (October-September 2010) as Mexican importers move to alternative suppliers. If the 20% tariff were continued for 2010, the sales loss to the U.S. potato industry would be approximately $40 million.

In February, the NPC joined more than 80 other groups in signing a letter to President Obama urging him to resist all efforts to halt or impede the US Department of Transportation’s Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program with Mexico. Signatories to the letter included General Electric, American Trucking Association, Nestle USA, ConAgra Foods, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Caterpillar, Panasonic, PepsiCo, and virtually every major agriculture organization. Both Congress and the administration need to be made aware of the fact that the impact of their action to eliminate the Mexican truck pilot will be a loss of jobs at home.

Source: National Potato Council news release

Leave a Reply

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

What about American farmer having to compete with Mexcio with no regulation as, clean water act, clean air act, peciside regualtion, worker saftey, soc sec, compensation insurance,and on and on. If american bought american products Mexcio whould not need to send truck. Our trade deficdent with Mexico is 10 time what it was before NAFTA.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

They should let the Mexican truck drivers come in
long enough to haul the 10 million other illegals back to Mexico and Central America along
with all the dope they bring in . Obama needs to
dump NAFTA and all the rest of the oneway trade
agreements
, kick all the lobbist groups out of Washington including the Potato Growing Assoc ,
and the others who have bought and paid for the
politicains there . We have the truck drivers here
and we need no more scabs from Mexico or any other
country coming in now that we have 9 % unemployment
and 18% part-time employment in the USA.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

What about American farmer having to compete with Mexcio with no regulation as, clean water act, clean air act, peciside regualtion, worker saftey, soc sec, compensation insurance,and on and on. If american bought american products Mexcio whould not need to send truck. Our trade deficdent with Mexico is 10 time what it was before NAFTA.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

They should let the Mexican truck drivers come in
long enough to haul the 10 million other illegals back to Mexico and Central America along
with all the dope they bring in . Obama needs to
dump NAFTA and all the rest of the oneway trade
agreements
, kick all the lobbist groups out of Washington including the Potato Growing Assoc ,
and the others who have bought and paid for the
politicains there . We have the truck drivers here
and we need no more scabs from Mexico or any other
country coming in now that we have 9 % unemployment
and 18% part-time employment in the USA.