Teamsters Urge Federal Government To Challenge Mexico's Retaliatory Tariffs

Aug 16, 2010, 18:16 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Hoffa: Mexico Must Live Up to its End of the Deal

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today urged the federal government to challenge Mexico's decision to subject more U.S. imports to tariffs because of the ban on allowing unsafe Mexican trucks to cross the border.



Hoffa said the tariffs are excessive and the Teamsters are calling on administration officials, including U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, to challenge them.

Restarting the unsafe cross-border trucking pilot program would cost an estimated $500 million, according to published reports. In March 2009, Congress cut the funds for a pilot program that opened the border to Mexican trucks. President Obama immediately shut the program down and Mexico retaliated then with tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of goods.

"At a time of deepening budget deficits and a weak economy, it would be foolish to subject U.S. taxpayers to such an expensive and very unsafe program," Hoffa said. "Instead of slapping additional tariffs on U.S. goods, Mexico should be living up to its end of the bargain by making sure its drivers and trucks are safe enough to use our highways."

Mexico's Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari told reporters today that Mexico plans to charge tariffs on a rotating list of 99 U.S. products worth about $2.5 billion.

Hoffa has repeatedly said that the ultimate solution to the Mexican trucks dispute is not to open the border but to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Act Agreement (NAFTA).

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hard-working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters