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Voice: Is this really free trade?

July 28, 2001

I have recently read much regarding allowing Mexican trucks to use U.S. highways to carry trade goods from Mexico to Mexico's NAFTA trade partners, the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Senate has voted affirmatively to require certain saftey requirements on 18-wheel trucks and other large transportation vehicles from Mexico that wish to use U.S. highways to deliver Mexican manufactured and agricultural products throughout the United States.

I personally think there should be such saftey requirements on all large transportaion vehicles, regardless of if they originate in Canada, the United States or Mexico.

I also understand that under NAFTA, U.S. trucks are not allowed in Mexico. Does this mean that U.S trucks will soon be able to use Mexican highways to deliver U.S. manufactured and agricultural products to markets in Mexico? Do Canadian trucks have the right to use U.S. highways, or are they also limited to that zone adjacent the border?

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Is it truely "free trade" when there are such transportation restrictions placed on the transportation of the manufactured and agricultural goods of Canada, the United States and Mexico?

Is NAFTA such a document that any one of the current three partners can choose to change any part of this agreement to satisify trade unions, political contributors, to pacify one of the trade partners or to appear "politically correct"? Just wondering.

D.K. EDWARDS

El Centro

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