Congressman Urges Resolution of US-Mexico Trade Dispute

A local congressman is urging President Obama to use a weekend summit of North American leaders to resolve a trade dispute between the United States and Mexico. U.S. Representative Kevin Brady says a recent Congressional Action is costing U.S. businesses money, and could jeopardize jobs. David Pitman reports.
During the Bush Administration, there was a pilot program allowing some Mexican trucks to come into the United States, as required by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Those trucks were kept out for several years after NAFTA took effect, because of safety concerns.

But a spending bill that Congress passed and President Obama signed earlier this year wiped out funding for the pilot program — and once again, Mexican trucks were no longer welcomed on American roads.

Mexico retaliated by slapping tariffs on nearly two-and-a-half billion dollars worth of certain U.S. exports, such as paper, batteries, makeup, and some agricultural goods. Republican U.S. Representative Kevin Brady of the Woodlands says there's already been a 28 percent drop in exports of those items.

"So there's a real cost to these tariffs that continue to grow each day this issue isn't resolved. Those exports, by the way, that are targeted, support over 15,000 American jobs."

However, Representative Brady says the White House hasn't been able to tell him whether the issue will even come up when President Obama talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Guadalajara.

"But my thought is going to this summit without raising and trying to resolve this issue is like going to the G-20 without addressing the financial crisis."

In May, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Mexican trucking and tariff dispute would be worked out by early summer. But earlier this week, he said his plate is full with the 'cash for clunkers' program, and a resolution will likely have to wait until the fall.

David Pitman, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...