Pilot Program Not Consistent With NAFTA Requirements, Says OOIDA
GRAIN VALLEY, Mo., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) was represented by legal counsel Paul Cullen Sr. who gave testimony showing the cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico is not consistent with U.S. safety standards and not required by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "The U.S. DOT's pilot program is neither authorized nor required by any obligation of the United States under NAFTA," Cullen testified. "The Department has no right to issue operating authority to trucking companies unless they are 'willing and able' to obey all applicable U.S. laws and regulations." He went on to explain that by accepting compliance with Mexican laws and regulations covering commercial drivers licenses, drug testing and standards of medical qualifications in lieu of compliance with its own regulations, DOT has completely rewritten the conditions for entry into the U.S. market for trucking services. Cullen also applauded the move by Congress to defund the pilot program while admonishing DOT for ignoring the Congressional directive. "The efforts of the Bush Administration to thwart the clear intent of Congress by continuing the program is both shocking and lamentable." Cullen also commented on the secretary of transportation's threat that Mexico will retaliate if the U.S. withdraws from the pilot program. Cullen stated, "If DOT follows their legal responsibilities, there will be no basis for retaliation against U.S. imports by Mexico." The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 161,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, MO, area.
SOURCE Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
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