The North American Free Trade Agreement and our Southern Neighbors

Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexican truckers are now able to enter the US. Mexican trucking companies were required to offload their products on the border to be picked up by American truckers. The Teamsters, independent truckers, and a collection of bipartisan politicians are hotly contesting this move, arguing that it will cost American jobs and poses a significant safety issue.Opponents of NAFTA sanctioned trucking say that this agreement with Mexico will cost American jobs because they will be unable to compete with Mexican truckers who make approximately half as much as American truckers (1). This will inevitably be appealing to businesses looking to cut costs; unfortunately the American trucker truly pays the price.Opponents of NAFTA trucking state that it is impossible to hold Mexican trucks and operators to the same standards held by American trucks and operators (1). This makes perfect sense, if American truckers fail to adhere to the rigorous standards of American trucking at times, how can we possibly ensure that Mexican truckers do the same? While supporters claim that each Mexican driver allowed into the U.S. will face a rigorous search of their driving record, it stands to reason that these records could be less diligently recorded in Mexico than the U.S. The culture of corruption in Mexico allows for the distinct possibility that even if no driving offenses are uncovered they could easily been overlooked for the right price. In a similar vein, the potential for illegitimate driver certifications or vehicle inspections is much greater in Mexico than the United States.Also, even if Mexican drivers adhere to American trucking policy while in the country, there is no guarantee they have done so before crossing the border. A prime example of this potential danger is the Mexican trucker who has only driven 4 hours in the U.S., but drove for 15 hours non-stop before arriving at the border. Any person driving for 19 hours without a substantial break is an alarming danger to anyone on American highways.More alarming still is the substantial evidence that Mexican drug cartels are hijacking legitimate trucks in order to transport illegal cargo into America. According to the Transportation Safety Administration “Drug traffickers also have been known to hijack and clone legitimate commercial trucks to transport illicit cargo across the border. According to a highway cargo trade group, in 2010, criminals hijacked over 10,000 commercial trucks in Mexico.” (3). Given that these trucks are literally designed to transport cargo, the cartels couldn’t ask for a more efficient method of transporting illicit cargo. This report hardly inspires confidence in a policy that allows Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States.Many supporters of NAFTA trucking claim that many security issues will be addressed by the addition of “black boxes” to Mexican trucks that report information about the truck’s speed, location, etc. Unfortunately Mexican trucks aren’t currently equipped with these black boxes. American truckers, of all people, are expected to pay for these boxes via a fuel tax!The danger posed by Mexican truckers is truly staggering. Simply put, Mexico cannot assure a level of quality control even approaching that offered by the United States. The American government has these controls in place to protect the American people, allowing truckers to enter our country who aren’t subject to these controls is clearly unsafe for all Americans.Sources