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U.S. Commerce Secretary:
Mexican trucks to hit U.S. highways by summer's end

Reuters 6/20/2002

MONTERREY, Mexico - Mexican trucks should be rolling down U.S. highways by the end of the summer, U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans said Thursday.

Wrapping up a three-day tour of Mexico, Evans told reporters he expects President George W. Bush  to soon declare the much-debated safety regulations as final.

"I think we've come a long way," Evans said during a news conference in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexican trucks were supposed to be allowed to travel throughout the United States by Jan. 1, 2000. The trucks are currently restricted to a commercial zone along the border.

Bush fought to allow Mexican trucks into the United States, but congressional members blocked the move last summer, demanding more safety checks.

The two sides reached an agreement at the end of 2001 that calls for onsite inspections of Mexican carriers wanting to operate in the United States and stricter checks at the border. Officials have been working on the logistics.

A week ago, Mexican President Vicente Fox warned that if the United States does not live up to its end of the NAFTA bargain soon, he would consider banning U.S. trucks from Mexican territory altogether. Fox made similar threats last year, but failed to follow through on them.

U.S. firms make up less than 5 percent of trucking companies in Mexico.


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