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Is NAFTA Threatening the Future of Independent Truckers? May 15, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in economics, equality, foreign policy, globalism, Income, NAFTA, news, politics.

Don’t you just love it when relatives drop by? My brother and his lovely wife dropped by the house over the weekend. During the family talk, I learned a lot about the situation among independent truckers. Like many independent truckers, my brother isn’t bringing home as much income because of high fuel costs and other affects of NAFTA. With fuel over $3 a gallon, he may spend well over $1,000 a week. Even though most consumer products cost have risen, trucking fees have not. Consequently, increased fuel costs are eating up profits.

The truckers who are not affected by the exorbitant fuel costs are large corporate fleets. They must have been forewarned and given the opportunity to contract for large quantities of fuel at a fixed rate. Many corporate fleets are paying from a little over a $1.25 to a little over $2 per gallon for fuel. Those truckers are still making a profit.

Compounding the problem for independents like my brother is the expected influx of Mexican truckers. They have been buying up semi tractors, trailers and even entire junk yards. Why? Because many drivers for large Mexican companies including GM, Ford, and Wal-Mart are expecting a lot of work. It is believed that some Mexicans have been purchasing their trucks with American tax dollars.

Because of Congress, not only have many American manufacturing jobs been lost to Mexico and other countries, but now it looks like a big chunk of the trucking jobs may be lost as well. Many truckers believe freight pricing will decrease because of cheaper rates offered or accepted by Mexicans. If so, the only truckers likely to survive NAFTA are the large freight companies.

Then, there are others like Mexico Trucker who claim Americans have no real reason to fear loss of trucking jobs. The cost of trucking in Mexico is about the same as in the US. Even though company drivers do make less money, the 3 year pilot project under NAFTA would only allow drivers of the 100 select Mexican companies. The question is should we trust Mexico Trucker? Can you trust anyone who claims that accidents in Mexico are a capital crime only to find out his source is linked to a book about criminal offenses in Pennsylvania? I’m not sure.

I am certain the influx of foreign truckers will be bad enough; but according to truckers like my brother, our officials are not adequately enforcing existing transportation laws. It is reported that Mexicans are driving around in rickety old rigs and the police are ignoring them. At the same time, Americans truckers are being stopped right and left.

American truckers can not be blamed for their ill-feeling about such injustice.

Maybe an even greater injustice is the fact that there will probably be no equality for American truckers wanting to haul freight into or out of Mexico. As of today, there are many restriction hindering American truckers seeking entry in to the Mexican market, while Mexicans have the same freedom as American truckers. As it is, only foreigners and multinational corporations are benefiting from NAFTA.

What should we expect from a government who for decades has maintained unfair international trade? Americans are apparently dumb enough to buy foreign goods while not reaping reciprocal benefit. Maybe it is the price for being the world superpower, the world policing power, or the world leader. The question coming to mind is what are we supposed to be leading the world to? A serious look at our society shows corruption and injustice of all kinds, not least is the globalist rip off of American jobs lead by Congress and America’s corporations drive for maximum profit.

What are Americans getting in return?

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1. Brian Cesarotti - May 16, 2007

“What are Americans getting in return?”

I think the easiest answer would be a cheaper price on a lot of goods. In China, Inc. by Ted C. Fishman, he says that the effect of all of the manufacturing being moved to China is roughly $800 savings per person as of 2004/2005. The problem is in industries where savings are passed on and when there is an unfair market, like the American drivers being unwilling to enter the Mexican market. As you mentioned, though, the Mexican drivers don’t have that much of an advantage, but the sheer number of potential drivers may cause their earnings to decrease. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

2. OOIDA Media Affairs - May 17, 2007

And it’s not just about jobs. The DOT has yet to provide specifics as to how they plan to ensure security and safety. They state over and over that all trucks entering would be inspected, but say nothing about keeping track of those drivers once they enter, as well as how on earth they would actually conduct all those inspections, conduct drug and alcohol testing, background checks on drivers license verification (Mexico’s system for these things is non-existent). Congress is working on a bill to put the brakes on this program, but U.S. Senators still need to hear from those against it. You can review the whole program proposed by DOT on the Federal Registry and even post your own comments. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070517/news_1b17bizbrfs.html

3. Daniel - May 17, 2007

Here is the link to Demonstration Project on NAFTA Trucking at the Federal Register.

4. in2thefray - May 17, 2007

This is a bad idea all around. The safety aspect is extremely important. In the Northeast there was a rash of truck vs car accidents that were fatal. The truckers were consistently overworked and Canadian. Is there any reason to doubt the South of the Border drivers will be as open to the failings that lead to the tragedies.
Also…savings of $800/yr secondary to Chinas manufacturing. How much is the impact on Americans their culture and our economy surpassing those “savings” ?

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