The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has expressed “strong disappointment” with both the United States and Mexican governments’ actions restricting Mexican trucks from hauling goods across the border.

Mexico added pork to the list of U.S. products against which it is retaliating for the failure of the United States to live up to its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Mexico’s retaliation against U.S. pork will have negative economic consequences for America’s pork producers,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, producer from Adair, IA.

“We are extremely disappointed that our top volume export market has taken this action, but we’re more disappointed that the United States is not living up to its trade obligations,” Carney said. “That failure not only has hurt dozens of U.S. industries economically, but it could prompt other countries to think twice about entering into trade deals with the United States. Our trading partners need assurance that the United States will live up to its trade obligations.”

In March 2009, the U.S. Congress failed to renew a pilot program that allowed a limited number of Mexican trucks to haul freight into United States beyond a 25-mile commercial zone. The Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program was launched by the U.S.
Department of Transportation in September 2007 as a way to implement the NAFTA trucking provision that was supposed to take effect in December 1995.

In February 2001, a NAFTA dispute-settlement panel ruled that excluding Mexican trucks violated U.S. obligations under the trade deal, giving Mexico the right to retaliate against U.S. products. They did so in March 2009, by placing higher tariffs on more than $2.4 billion of U.S. goods. Pork was not included on that initial retaliation list.

“Mexico is a top market for all kinds of U.S. exports, providing millions of jobs to U.S. workers,” Carney added. “The retaliation puts thousands of agricultural and manufacturing jobs at risk, including pork industry jobs.”

NPPC has been urging the Obama administration to work with Congress to quickly resolve the trucking issue with Mexico, which last year bought $762 million of U.S. pork.