The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) this week sent members of Congress a letter urging their support for the recent agreement on Mexican trucking between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The action was designed to resolve the trucking dispute between the two nations and remove Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork and 98 other U.S. products. The agreement in principal calls for the development of a pilot program that allows Mexican trucks to haul goods into the United States.

A provision in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement mandates cross-border trucking, but the United States hasn’t allowed Mexican trucks into the country – except during a limited 18-month period.

NPPC has pointed out that Mexican trucks were proven as safe as American trucks in a 2007 pilot program, which Congress defunded in 2009.

The organization also pointed out that should this agreement not be ratified, it is likely that Mexico would increase the current tariffs on U.S. goods. Since they were imposed on U.S. pork in August 2010, the tariffs have reduced U.S. pork exports to Mexico by 9% from August to December 2010, compared with the same period in 2009. In that same time, Canadian pork exports to Mexico have grown by 99%.

Under the settlement announced March 3, the tariffs will be cut in half once a final agreement is signed by both countries, and will be eliminated once the first Mexican truck is allowed into the United States.

Mexico, the second-largest market for U.S. pork in 2010, purchased $986 million of U.S. pork in 2010.