Friday, January 14, 2011
The crossborder trade relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has been a difficult one over the last few years. This week, both countries met to try to improve it.
SAN DIEGO First, the Obama Administration said it would reinstate a measure allowing Mexican cargo trucks to cross deeper into the U.S. Then, Mexico responded by promising to ease punitive tariffs on American agricultural goods. And most recently, both countries met in Mexico City to improve their economic partnership.
"The final regulations that come out of this are going to be pointed towards safety, and they're going to still impose a very high level of inspections on Mexican trucks," said Kenn Morris, president of CrossBorder Group, a binational business and policy research firm. "So the American public will benefit from it, and I also believe that NAFTA as a whole, the North American marketplace, will increase its competitiveness."
Approximately 3,000 trucks cross daily from Mexico into California. And in Texas, the border city of Laredo welcomes nearly 40 percent of all Mexican exports into the U.S.
Mexico is happy about the newly strengthened trade deals.
"Mexico has stepped up and said, 'OK, you've made a proposal, we will consider it and in the meantime, we will stop applying tariffs to new items in retaliation for this,'" said Morris. "It's clear that they're moving forward, it's clear that they see an opportunity here, but I don't think that what was proposed is going to be the final deal."
That final deal is expected to reexamine NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1994, and it could lead to greater commerce between the two countries. Labor unions are among the critics of increased trade with Mexico, saying the relationship costs millions of American jobs.