Texas Tribune: Trucking program raises border policy questions

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Some Texas Republicans are embracing a cross-border trucking agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that labor unions worry could kill jobs and drastically reduce border security.

The binational agreement would end a years-long standoff between the two countries by recognizing an original provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement that allows U.S. and Mexican tractor-trailers to travel beyond the current 20- to 25-mile limits. Critics of the move, primarily labor unions, blasted the decision, saying it would cost jobs and enable the expansion of the nefarious enterprises that have Mexico in the throes of a violent turf war.

But free-trade advocates and some Texas lawmakers and public officials, including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, welcome the agreement as a boon for U.S. businesses, including those in Texas. “Trade equals jobs, and this agreement to reduce the trade tariffs on U.S. and Texas products entering Mexico will help level the playing field and remove the unfair burden placed on the backs of our hardworking farmers and ranchers,” Staples said after last week’s agreement was announced.

The Mexican government agreed to suspend tariffs it imposed on U.S. goods in 2009 after the Obama administration defunded a pilot program that had allowed cross-border trucking. The fees applied to about $190 million in Texas agricultural products, according to Staples’ office.

Read More of this article: TexasTribune.com

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