WASHINGTON – Details of a new phased-in pilot program intending to settle a long-running dispute over Mexican trucks operating beyond US border zones have been issued by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), according the April 15 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report stated.

At present, Mexico imposes tariffs of 5-15% on $2.4 billion worth of agricultural goods imported from the US in retaliation for the US not allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to operate beyond US border zones, as required under the North American Free-Trade Agreement. According to a draft agreement both governments announced in March, Mexico is to slash these tariffs by 50% when a final agreement is signed and suspend the remaining 50% when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority under the pilot. Expect the final agreement to likely be signed in late May or early June, once comments on the pilot program have been received and considered, sources said.

FMCSA says this pilot program will allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate throughout the US for up to three years and US-domiciled motor carriers would be granted reciprocal rights to operate in Mexico for the same period. Participating Mexican carriers and drivers would be required to comply with all applicable US laws and regulations, including those concerned with motor carrier safety, customs, immigration, vehicle registration and taxation, and fuel taxation. Safety of participating carriers would be tracked closely by FMCSA with input from a federal advisory committee.