Trucking Groups Cheer North American Trade Deal as “Victory for American Truckers”
Washington, D.C. – Trucking groups are finding unity in their support for an historic North American trade deal which is expected to be a boon for the U.S. trucking industry.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an overwhelming vote of 89 to 10.
This came after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation on December 19, 2019, by a vote of 385 to 41.
The USMCA legislation was sent to the U.S. House after leaders of the three countries signed the agreement in November of 2018.
President Donald Trump has made trade imbalances a major theme of his political career and his administration.
In fact, President Trump has frequently called the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and went into effect in 1994, the “worst trade deal ever made.”
Economists expect the USMCA to increase annual U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico by a combined $33 billion above the current NAFTA baseline.
The agreement is also expected to increase U.S. GDP by $68 billion, which will mean significant production increases for industries such as agriculture and manufacturing and the truckers who service them.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) initially expressed reticence regarding a re-negotiation of NAFTA.
In 2018, trucks moved more than $770 billion worth of goods between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and transnational trade between the three countries supported roughly 90,000 U.S. jobs in the trucking industry.
However, upon passage of the USMCA, the ATA praised the deal.
“Trade is central to the trucking industry – 76% of all surface freight between the U.S. and our nearest neighbors moves by truck – so the newly ratified USMCA will be a boon to our economy and our industry,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This agreement will boost both U.S. exports and gross domestic product, meaning more truck movements and delivering measurable returns for our industry.”
The ATA was not alone in its cheers.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also heaped praise on the USMCA, calling it a “victory for American truckers.”
“Senate passage of USMCA is a long-awaited victory for American truckers, who were hung out to dry under NAFTA,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said.
U.S.-Mexico Cross-Border Provisions
OOIDA has long been critical of NAFTA’s U.S.-Mexico cross-border policies.
However, the USMCA caps the number of Mexican-domiciled carriers that can receive U.S. operating authority and continues the prohibition on Mexican-based carriers hauling freight between two points within the U.S.
The 41 Mexican carriers that already have authority to operate in the U.S.under NAFTA will continue to be allowed to do so.
OOIDA is also applauding a USMCA provision which allows for a representative of a U.S. long-haul trucking services industry, the U.S. Trade Representative, a congressional committee or the president to request investigations into Mexican carriers suspected of not operating in compliance with federal regulations.
Such an investigation is meant to determine whether that Mexican carrier is causing material harm to the United States long-haul trucking services industry.
“Clearly we’re eager to see this new agreement enacted by all parties involved because the cross-border trucking provision will finally limit unfair competition from Mexico-based motor carriers – many of which do not follow the same rigorous safety, environmental, and labor standards as our members,” Spencer said.
The legislation is expected to be enacted this year as Mexico has already ratified the agreement and Canada’s House of Commons is expected to do the same the last week in January.