Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the Mexican-U.S. border was to have “reciprocal” access by both nations by the year 2000. The United States has remained non-compliant, costing Mexico’s trucking industry nearly $400 million annually in lost revenues. Canacar, the trucking association’s official group in Mexico, has officially filed for binding arbitration over the continuing violations.
The dispute came to a head as the temporary Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which had allowed limited cross-border hauling outside of the established “border commercial zone” and into the U.S. interior, came to an end in October. The program had been established by the U.S. to gather data on the security and safety issues regarding allowing Mexican carriers free access to the U.S. interior.
Canacar has also requested that the Mexican government place sanctions against the U.S. over the NAFTA violations. The U.S. has offered no timeline for when it will come into compliance with the treaty. Canacar previously filed for arbitration in 2009, but the U.S. offered to enter negotiations in order to avoid arbitration. No negotiations were ever established. Canacar estimated losses due to the violations of the NAFTA agreement to be in excess of $6 billion total since the 2000 deadline for opening the border was missed.
The United States cites border security concerns as the reason for its non-compliance, and blames Mexican authorities for being unable to guarantee the security of the border crossings. The United States has a growing issue with illegal immigrants from Mexico fleeing into the U.S. to escape poverty, drug cartels, and other issues of Mexican society.