It’s been 15 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement became law and, while the agreement has been extremely helpful for Canada, Mexico, and the US alike, political opposition has stalled a few key provisions including the legalization of Mexican truckers in the US. While there is a lot of ongoing angst about immigration, the fact is that opposition to Mexican truckers is a function of the political muscle of the Teamsters and other labor unions who want to avoid competition and thus keep their wages artificially high. Unfortunately, the US Senate recently decided to allow the Teamsters to preserve their protected market.
As Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute pointed out regarding the recent Senate vote to again postpone implementation of the NAFTA provision legalizing Mexican truckers:
“The Senate majority claims to be protecting highway safety, but the amendment passed yesterday is really just a bald form of discrimination against our Mexican neighbors. The U.S. government can and should hold Mexican trucking companies to the same safety regulations we impose on American and Canadian truckers. But the Senate bill will exclude even qualified Mexican trucking companies from helping to bring goods to U.S. markets. The Senate amendment sends the message that our international agreements mean nothing in the face of political pressure from the Teamsters. The problem the Senate majority has with Mexican trucks is not that they are unsafe but they are driven by Mexicans.”