Mexico wants to keep on trucking

Mexico said it would impose tariffs on about 90 U.S. exports in retaliation for a recent bill that violates the North America Free Trade Agreement by restricting Mexican trucks from transporting goods in the U.S.

The spending bill signed last week cancels a pilot program allowing Mexican trucks to carry their cargo in the U.S.  Unions, especially the Teamsters, have campaigned against the program — and against NAFTA.  President Obama, when he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination, had said he wanted to renegotiate the trade agreement, which includes Canada and Mexico — the number one and number three trading partners with the U.S.  Although he has weakened his rhetoric on that since his election, his trade agenda does call for adding more worker and environmental protection provisions to pending and future trade deals and to “seek ways to improve NAFTA.”

The restriction on Mexican trucks comes after the “Buy American” provisions in the recent stimulus bill, which has been labeled protectionist by U.S. trading partners. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a visit to the U.S. last week, warned against rising U.S. and world protectionism, which he said would hurt poor countries the most.