Several ag groups issued statements regarding their support of the end of a dispute over trucks entering the United States from Mexico. Those groups included the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).
The first Mexican truck crossed into the U.S. on Friday, fulfilling a long-delayed provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that had been stalled for years by concerns it could put highway safety and American jobs at risk, the Associated Press reported.
The crossing came nearly two decades after passage of NAFTA, which was supposed to give trucks from both countries unhindered access to highways on either side of the border.
"With this program, we're initiating a new stage of competition, of prosperity, of regional integration," said Bruno Ferrari, Mexican secretary of the economy, told the Associated Press.
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, issued this statement: “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have reached an agreement to resolve the dispute over cross-border trucking. This agreement has been a long time coming and, with half of the $2.4 billion in Mexican retaliatory tariffs to be lifted as soon as the agreement is finalized, this will have an immediate positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports. The remainder of the tariffs will be lifted when the necessary safety tests are completed and the first Mexican truck rolls across the U.S. border. We hope that the administration will push forward to finalize the agreement quickly.
“It is important for our trading partners to know that the United States lives up to its commitments under trade agreements. Re-establishing a reciprocal cross-border trucking program will go a long way toward restoring our credibility and our relationship with a vital trade partner.
“Mexico is our third-largest agricultural export market. Our farm and ranch exports to Mexico have, however, been hampered by this dispute and the retaliatory tariffs. The impact has touched a wide range of farm products from every state. Our competitors are filling the gap. This is not in our economic best interests. One of the straightest roads to economic growth and job creation in the U.S. is for members of Congress to get behind the agreement announced today, and we urge them to do so.”
NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa, said, “This is great news for the U.S. pork industry, as well as for other sectors affected by Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs. Pork producers have been hurt by this retaliation.”
Tom Suber, president of USDEC, said, “These actions mean that dairy products on Mexico’s retaliation list will now be free of the 20 percent to 25 percent tariffs that were restricting access to our best foreign market.”
Mexico’s retaliation against a total of $2.4 billion in U.S. exports had come after successfully challenging the U.S. ban on Mexican trucks that has remained in place, despite a 1994 U.S. commitment under NAFTA to lift it.