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A United States Customs agent waits for a northbound truck crossing the border to enter the United States from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, near Nogales, AZ. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: President Obama and Mexico's president appear to have reached an agreement that'll allow Mexican trucks on American highways. The deal puts to rest a decades-old dispute.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer is with us live from Washington with the details. Good morning, Nancy.


CHIOTAKIS: So what does this agreement say?

GENZER: It would require that Mexican truckers pass drug and safety tests before they're certified to drive in the U.S. That's designed to answer complaints from American unions that Mexican trucks are unsafe. George Grayson is a political scientists specializing in Mexico at the College of William and Mary. He says Mexico has already been working on the safety of its rigs.

GEORGE GRAYSON: The rigs are much safer now, and the drivers more experienced. And there in fact have been some studies to indicate that Mexican trucks are actually safer than those that ply the roadways of Canada and the United States.

CHIOTAKIS: But weren't Mexican trucks already allowed into the U.S. under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement?

GENZER: Good memory, Steve. They were. But the U.S. kept them out anyway, partly because of pressure from union drivers. They said their jobs would be threatened by Mexican rigs. Then there were the allegations about safety. Now Mexico retaliated by increasing tariffs on dozens of American products headed to Mexico. Remember, this is a tentative agreement pending Congressional approval. The deal is expected to land on Capitol Hill later this month or in April. Mexico says, if the agreement is approved, it'll gradually end the tariffs. They'd be dropped entirely when the first Mexican rig was certified for U.S. roads.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer in Washington. Nancy Thanks.

GENZER: You're welcome.