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  • Stop This Trade War Before It Starts

    The Washington Post editorializes today:

    As President Obama and many of his supporters articulated it during the 2008 campaign, the case against President George W. Bush’s foreign policy emphasized his highhanded treatment of countries with which we disagree. Too often going it alone in pursuit of asserted national interests, the United States under Mr. Bush showed contempt for international law, which alienated existing friends and repelled potential new ones. The new president has made a number of gestures toward correcting America’s standing in the world. But on at least one occasion he and his party have acted as if the only thing that matters is what’s good for the United States — or, rather, certain people in the United States.

    We speak of the Democratic Congress’s recent approval of a law, signed by Mr. Obama, that killed any chance that long-haul freight trucks from Mexico could operate in the United States, as had been promised under the North American Free Trade Agreement.Giving U.S. and Mexican trucks reciprocal access to each other’s markets would save fuel and money. An international arbitration panel has also found that the United States is legally required to let Mexican trucks in. Yet the Teamsters union bitterly resisted, claiming that poorly regulated trucks from south of the border would be menaces on U.S. highways.

    To meet legitimate safety concerns and this country’s legal obligations, the Bush administration promoted a pilot project under which Mexican trucks, screened by U.S. personnel, could operate freely within the United States. The Mexican trucks compiled a safety record comparable to that of American rigs. Almost everyone was happy with the deal — except the Teamsters, for whom economic turf rather than safety has always been paramount.

    Now, in retaliation, the Mexican government has ordered tariffs of 10 to 45 percent on some 90 U.S. products worth $2.4 billion in sales to Mexico each year: These include both manufactured items such as cellphones and agricultural ones such as pears and cherries. Mexico’s action is fully legal under the arbitrators’ ruling. Indeed, it has refrained from imposing the sanctions for years in pursuit of a negotiated solution. Mexico appears to be holding back on targeting really huge U.S. exports such as corn — as leverage for the good-faith negotiation with the Obama administration it says it seeks.

    Other countries that aspire to free trade with us will be watching closely to see if the Obama administration can mend the damage that has already been done.

    We couldn’t agree more.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Stop This Trade War Before It Starts

    1. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Excue me, I've never seen a cherry nor an apple nor a Christmas tree grown in Mexico! I don't really believe that we make any cell phones here either!

      I have never beieved in NAFTA. There was a great sucking sound as all our Catepiller jobs shut down here in Dalles, Oregon and moved to Mexico.

      Mexico doesn't grow its own potatos' either! If the Mexican people want them, they will just have to stand up to their own Government and tell them! We grow Christmas trees, they do not!

      We have spent way too much for far too long trying to help those people with their governmental affairs to be threatened and worried about it now. Enough. Fis it your selves.

      Hozro

    2. TedN, St. Petersburg says:

      Is this the "real story"? Fuel savings? What difference does it make whether Mexican or U.S. trucks are transporting the goods assuming they both burn similar fuel? Besides, are not the numbers of trucks affected paltry, i.e., about 90? I am for maintaining original agreements but Mexico's reaction seems disproportionate given the facts as I understand them. There must be more here ….

    3. David A. White/ Alab says:

      If Mexico was fair to their citizens, the US would not have 20 million of them working here. Mexico is one of the richest countries in the world, but only about 1 percent of the population has the money. It is time for the US government to stop supporting the Mexican population. The Mexican people are good, hard working and want to better their lives. NAFTA is only for the rich and big business, so who cares what the Mexican stops importing from the US.

    4. Dave, Florida says:

      We need to immediately implement a minimum 10% tariff for all imports with an exception of 5% for the border countries and a sliding scale upward for countries with large import deficits. Lack of industry for jobs will prevent us from recovering from this economic crisis. You cannot spend your way out of a recession you must produce your way out and that is something that we cannot do with out bringing back our industry. Additional tariffs are required to do this because there is no way we can compete without them.

      Our GDP has actually been going down for many years but masked by the various bubbles, plus our including sales of imported goods as 'Domestic Product’; our actual GDP was much lower. Back in the 1930-1940's despite all the programs and big government spending the depression did not end until after WWII production brought us out.

      ‘Free Trade’ is a lie propagated by both the Left Wing Globalist and the Right Wing Vulture Capitalist

    5. Ben Franklin, Kendal says:

      WOW. The comments here are so reasonable and well thought. The reason it is important to allow Mexican trucking companies to operate freely is because free trade is always good for everyone – Competition improves the lot of all. As it stands now, businesses (Mexican or American) have to maintain warehouses in both countries in order to ship goods, which is frustratingly wasteful, making prices higher for the U.S. consumer, which doesn't help anyone.

    6. Joanne Tellez Giron, says:

      WOW. and again WOW. I was getting worried that reasonable thinkers no longer came here. Thanks Ben Franklin. I hope more people are as reasonable.

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