Original Press Release
NAM Says Failure to Honor Agreement with Mexico Threatens U.S. Manufacturing Jobs
Press release date: March 19, 2009
17,000 Jobs Put at Risk by New Tariffs
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2009 - National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo today issued the following statement in reaction to the announcement by the government of Mexico that it will impose tariffs on U.S. exports in retaliation for U.S. refusal to honor cross-border trucking provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
We are very concerned with the damage to the U.S. manufacturing industry and their employees that would be caused by these increased tariffs. This unfortunate action was taken in response to cancellation by the U.S. government, as part of the 2009 Omnibus Bill, of the Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program. The Pilot Program was an effort by the U.S. government to come into compliance with a 2001 NAFTA commitment. Cancellation of the program led to the announcement by the Mexican government of retaliatory tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. products that are exported to Mexico. Of that, almost 85 percent is manufactured goods, so the NAM has a very strong interest in this issue.
Mexico is our second largest export market, and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs depend on those export sales. This comes at a time when U.S. industry can least afford lost sales and competitiveness in important global markets. This is the worst possible time to send a signal to our closest trading partners that the United States does not take its commitments seriously.
Today and always, we must and will assure that all trucks on our highways are operated safely. Our government has vast experience enforcing trucking safety and the Cross Border Trucking Pilot Program strongly indicated that Mexican motor carriers (or trucking companies) can operate safely beyond the foreign commercial zone. There is no reason to further compromise this vital trade link with our southern neighbors.
The NAM will work with Congress and the Administration for a quick resolution to this dispute so that the sales of U.S. goods are not put at risk.
A full list of products affected by the new tariffs imposed by Mexico can be found here: nam.org/mexicantariffs
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.