Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hoffa Denounces Mexican Tariff Threat Over Unsafe Trucks

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today said the Mexican government's threat to raise tariffs on U.S. exports is an absurd overreaction to the shutdown of the unsafe cross-border trucking pilot program.

Congress ended the program as part of the recent Omnibus appropriations bill.

"The right response from Mexico would be to make sure its drivers and trucks are safe enough to use our highways without endangering our drivers," Hoffa said. "The border must stay closed until Mexico holds up its end of the bargain."

According to published reports, the U.S. government spent $500 million on the pilot program, which began in September 2007. Only about three Mexican trucks per day traveled beyond the border zone since then, according to the Transportation Department's office of inspector general.

"The U.S. needs to stop agreeing to trade deals like NAFTA that allow our own safety standards to deteriorate," Hoffa said.

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