Mexican trucking association starts arbitration against U.S.

CANACAR (Cámara Nacional del Autotransporte de Carga), Mexico’s national trucking association, has filed arbitration action against the United States, seeking $30 billion in compensation for Washington’s refusal to fully open the border for Mexican carriers to operate within U.S. boundaries, as required by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than 20 years ago.

Some of 30,000 Mexican truckers who have been affected by non-compliance have signed on to the arbitration action.

CANACAR’s director, Jose Refugio Muñoz Lopez, criticized  the so-called Demonstration Project, a cross-border pilot program aimed at facilitating Mexican truckers’ access to U.S. roads, saying that “in no way has it served as a mechanism for U.S. compliance with its requirements under NAFTA.” Nothing in the trucking part of NAFTA required a demonstration program nor anything other than unilateral “national treatment” between the three countries involved in the agreement.

He said Mexican trucking companies have been forced to make investments in the U.S. and create cargo-transfer zones along the border.

President Barack Obama, Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto, and Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, the other member of the NAFTA trade bloc, are expected to discuss address the matter at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 19 in Toluca, capital of the central state of Mexico.