Jewish World Review June 14, 2004 / 25 Sivan, 5764
Mexican trucking issue underscores flaws of NAFTA
The Supreme Court decision to allow Mexican trucks to enter the United States without further environmental study is another reason for the United States to either end the North American Free Trade Agreement or renegotiate its terms.
Some 4.5 million Mexican trucks cross the border every year. Up until now the trucks have been forced to stay within 20 miles of the border. The Supreme Court's decision paves the way for Mexican trucks to hit U.S. highways almost immediately. But environmentalists say the Mexican trucks will bring in more than their cargo - they will also haul in toxic pollution.
We don't know what effect these trucks will have on our environment, we are not sure how safe and competent these truck drivers are, and we do not know whether the trucks they will be driving have been properly inspected. Mexico's regulatory and safety standards are simply not as high as ours.
"My big problem with U.S. policy towards the Mexican trucking issue," U.S. Business and Industry Council research fellow Alan Tonelson said, "is that we've assumed that just because we signed NAFTA, Mexico ipso facto has a trucking regulatory system that we can trust here in this country. We really need to understand that NAFTA is not a magic wand that confers first-world qualities onto Mexico."
Mexico is, in fact, still an underdeveloped country in almost every sense. Its 2002 gross domestic product was a mere $637 billion versus the United States' GDP of $10 trillion. Two-thirds of the urban population in Mexico live below the national poverty line. And Mexico's health and sanitation conditions are still, in many ways, substandard.
Despite the fact that we know the regulatory standards in Mexico are not up to ours, we do not have proper mechanisms in place to inspect these vehicles coming across our borders.
"I am still concerned, because right now the only permanent inspection facilities are in California," said Jackie Gillan, vice president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. "Texas and other border crossings do not have permanent inspection facilities in place."
Gillan also contends that security is a major issue.
"We're a very different place post 9-11," Gillen said. "I think now that we're going to open the southern border, we need to do a check to make sure (proper security measures) are in place, and that it's not going to in any way degrade safety and also not degrade security."
Then there's the issue of jobs. By allowing Mexican truck drivers to carry cargo in, we will necessarily be shipping out American jobs. Watchdog groups are also concerned that Mexican trucking companies will not prevent their drivers from working a full shift in Mexico, then crossing the border and starting the clock all over again in the United States - potentially putting fatigued truckers on our highways.
To allow Mexican trucks on U.S. highways is both dangerous and unwise. But under the guise of a commercial agreement, the NAFTA treaty continues to demonstrate its negative impact on our economy. By requiring the United States to allow a foreign country to violate our work regulations and environmental regulations, and to jeopardize our safety, it further reduces what is left of our diminishing power of sovereignty.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.
06/07/04: Patriot games
06/01/04: Our first line of defense still needs attention
05/17/04: Wasting minds
05/11/04: Outsourcing of jobs leads to information leaks
05/04/04: Labor issues getting some much-needed attention
04/27/04: Outsourcing the jobs debate
04/20/04: Revisiting the final frontier
04/11/04: The source of terror
03/22/04: Our new consumer economy
03/15/04: Finding a balance between free trade and protecting our national interest
03/09/04: Choice between Bush and Kerry isn't much of a choice
03/02/04: Election stakes are getting higher
02/24/04: Help wanted: Free trade policies hurt working Americans
02/17/04: All the news that's fit
02/04/04: American jobs must be protected
01/03/04: Dangerously dependent
01/27/04: Who's working for working Americans?
01/20/04: U.S. selling itself short with "free" trade
01/12/04: Bush on the wrong track with immigration idea
01/05/04: Business leaders should resolve to lead by example in 2004
12/29/03: Immigration needs stricter, not looser, controls
12/11/03: Trade deficit with China a big problem
12/09/03: Let our children be children
12/01/03: Broken borders pose a serious health risk
11/25/03: Free trade costs plenty
11/18/03: European Union is playing a dangerous game
11/10/03: This time, it's not the economy
11/04/03: Overseas outsourcing is an alarming trend
10/28/03: Spending so much time 'making a living', we don't live
10/21/03: As population soars, U.S. faces tough choices
10/14/03: Schools need to re-emphasize math and science
10/07/03: It's lonely at the top
09/30/03: Is America over-medicating?
09/23/03: Corporate execs need to stop selling out U.S. workers
09/16/03: The scandals just keep on coming
09/09/03: Let's get real on energy
09/02/03: Is free enterprise the answer to education woes?
08/26/03: Building the road to recovery
08/12/03: War on drugs is still a war worth fighting
08/06/03: An attack on progressive thought
07/29/03: Prosperity begins at home
07/22/03: Real earnings, or really creative earnings?
07/15/03: Flirting with disaster
07/08/03: It's good to be the king
07/01/03: Border disorder
06/24/03: Prairie dogs and mosquito bogs
06/17/03: Bullish on America
06/10/03: Retirement realities: we need new solutions soon
06/03/03: Curing what ails us
05/27/03: America's export problem
05/21/03: Wall Street's new imperative: Integrity
/13/03: Losing sight of the dangers in creating further fiscal stimulus
05/06/03: Optimism is unfashionable, but here's some anyway
04/29/03: Nuclear nightmare
04/22/03: Naysayers ignore signs of economic recovery
04/15/03: Game over--but for whom?
04/08/03: No more fool's games
03/31/03: United States must seriously review foreign economic and political relationships
03/24/03: Delusional Chirac may be a thorn in coalition's side, but new alliances are forming in response to 21st-Century threats without him and UN
03/18/03: Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole
03/11/03: Geopolitical visibility
03/04/03: Freedom: Our best export
02/27/03: Guns, butter and greasing the way
02/18/03: Looking for a silver lining
02/10/03: Space program remains a valuable investment
02/04/03: Hi pal, come back
01/28/03: Bush address a chance to bolster confidence
01/22/03: Here we go again!
01/14/03: Bush's bold bid
01/07/03: The only thing certain is uncertainty
12/30/02: No need to be so negative as new year approaches
12/23/02: NY's AG deserves credit for settlement
12/18/02: Critics of Bush nominees should tone down rhetoric
12/09/02: A lot rides on prez's Treasury pick
12/04/02: A fast fix for corporate credibility?
11/26/02: Urge to merge is hard to resist
11/19/02: Are we really so bad off?
11/12/02: Bush's lucky week bodes well for recovery
11/05/02: Wall Street firms treat investors as fools
10/29/02: Earnings estimates offer some hope
10/22/02: Economy's strength tied to national security
10/17/02: Harvey Pitt, get real!
10/08/02:Are we experiencing the fall before the rise?
10/01/02: Concerns about earnings are justified
09/24/02: Business leaders must abandon stall tactics
09/17/02: Wall Street's reality check
There's no better time for leaders to show resolve
© 2003, TMS