North American Free Trade Agreement: Coordinated Operational Plan Needed to Ensure Mexican Trucks' Compliance With U.S. Standards

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowed Mexican commercial trucks to travel throughout the United States. Because of concerns about the safety of these vehicles, the United States has limited Mexican truck operations to commercial zones near the border. Relatively few Mexican carriers are expected to operate beyond these commercial zones once the United States fully opens its highways to Mexican carriers. Specific regulatory and economic factors that may limit the number of Mexican carriers operating beyond the commercial zones include (1) the lack of ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. December 21, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowed Mexican commercial trucks to travel throughout the United States. Because of concerns about the safety of these vehicles, the United States has limited Mexican truck operations to commercial zones near the border. Relatively few Mexican carriers are expected to operate beyond these commercial zones once the United States fully opens its highways to Mexican carriers. Specific regulatory and economic factors that may limit the number of Mexican carriers operating beyond the commercial zones include (1) the lack of established business relationships beyond the U.S. commercial zones that permit drivers to return to Mexico carrying cargo, (2) difficulties obtaining competitively priced insurance, (3) congestion and delays in crossing the U.S.-Mexico border that make long-haul operations less profitable, and (4) high registration fees. Over time, improvements in trucking and border operations may increase the number of Mexican commercial vehicles traveling beyond the commercial zones. GAO found that the Department of Transportation (DOT) lacks a fully developed or approved plan to ensure that Mexican-domiciled carriers comply with U.S. safety standards. DOT has not secured permanent space at any of the 25 southwest border ports of entry where commercial trucks enter the United States, and only California has established permanent inspection facilities. DOT also has not completed agreements with border states on how 58 federal inspectors and 89 state inspectors will share inspection responsibilities along the border. States are responsible for ensuring that Mexican trucks adhere to U.S. emissions standards. California is the only southwest border state with a truck emissions inspection program in place at the border. Although the Mexican government has developed truck safety regulations and taken steps to enforce safety and air emissions standards, these efforts are relatively recent and it is too early to assess their effectiveness. With DOT's support, Mexico has developed five databases on the safety records of its commercial drivers and motor carriers. As of October 2001, however, the commercial driver's license database covered less than one-quarter of Mexico's commercial drivers. Mexico has also participated in NAFTA-related efforts to make motor carrier safety regulations compatible across the three member nations. Mexican private industry has also sought to improve the safety of Mexican commercial vehicles."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 21, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. North American Free Trade Agreement: Coordinated Operational Plan Needed to Ensure Mexican Trucks' Compliance With U.S. Standards, report, December 21, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294790/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.