Calderon's U.S. visit opens truck debate

Mexican trucks

by Rob Schmitz

Under NAFTA, Mexican trucks were supposed to rumble along American freeways by the year 2000. Ten years later, they're still not. What's the hold up?

It may have to do with the Teamsters. Last year, the Teamsters union successfully pressured the Obama administration to stop a pilot program that allowed Mexican trucks on some U.S. roads. Why? Teamsters president Jim Hoffa explains.

"I mean, we're taking off our shoes to go on an airplane, and we're going to let people drive in from Mexico," he says. "We don't know who they are, you know, driving giant rigs. Sounds like a bad idea to me."

Bad idea or not, the Obama administration is expected to use Calderon's visit to announce plans to reopen the border to Mexican trucks.

San Diego State University Professor Jim Gerber says it's about time.

"We signed an agreement saying we would do it." says Gerber. "And I think not to follow through on our obligations really undermines U.S.-Mexico relations."

As for Jim Hoffa, he says he'll fight this one in Congress.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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