Mexican Truck Enters US After Long Trade Dispute
VOA Breaking News
October 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm
The first Mexican tractor-trailer truck has crossed into the United States following a 16-year trade dispute.
The commercial truck, hauling drilling equipment, entered the United States on Friday. A ceremony was held in the Mexican border city of Laredo before the truck set off for Dallas, Texas.
It was the first time a long-haul Mexican truck entered the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed in 1994.
That deal called for Mexican trucks to have unrestricted access to highways in U.S. border states by 1995. However, U.S. officials and labor unions opposed the move because of safety and environmental concerns.
Mexico imposed higher tariffs on some U.S. goods in connection with the dispute.
Until now, Mexican trucks had to stop at the border and transfer their cargos to American vehicles.
In July, the United States and Mexico reached a new agreement on the issue.
As part of the program, electronic monitoring systems will track the number of hours the Mexican trucks are in service. The truckers' driving records will also be reviewed. Additionally, drivers will have to pass drug tests and assessments of their English language and U.S. traffic sign-reading skills. Mexico has the authority to demand the same of U.S. truck drivers entering its territory.
Mexico is America's third-largest trading partner.
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