When Unions Punish Mexican Truckers, They Punish Americans

When Unions Punish Mexican Truckers They Punish Every American.

As I have maintained countless times, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is by far the most beneficial trade legislation Congress has ever passed. Today, Mexico imports more U.S. made products than China and Japan combined. In fact, a guest on my radio show “Truth for America,” former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, noted that during 2008, the U.S. exported $115 billion to Mexico (up 13 percent). All in all, thirty percent of all U.S. trade goes to our two NAFTA partners.

You would think this country would do everything it could to nourish this relationship. But with the tacit approval of the Obama administration, the Teamsters Union has manufactured unsubstantiated data that Mexican truckers transporting goods into the U.S. from Mexico are unsafe. This despite a number of studies that have shown that the safety record of Mexican trucks in the U.S. is actually better than that of U.S. truckers. Consequently, the Teamsters have shut down Mexican truckers from trying to move goods across the border.

In retaliation, the Mexican government has imposed punishing tariffs on a number of U.S. goods being exported to Mexico. The first round of tariffs was imposed in 2009. Just recently Mexico announced new tariffs on 26 previously tariff-free goods. These include produce items such as oranges, grapefruits, apples and pistachios, as well as ketchup, chewing gum, and chocolate. This has raised the cost of these American produced goods by more than twenty percent to the Mexican consumer. You can guess the outcome. Mexican consumers will no longer buy U.S. goods, but will look for cheaper imports from countries that have a better trading relationship with Mexico such as the European Union.

Mexican Economic Minister Bruno Ferrari came out recently with the sobering data that after the first round of higher tariffs were sanctioned by Mexico in 2009, imports of these U.S. items dropped by eighty-one percent during the first year.

U.S. small businesses and American farmers are being punished because of the new clout gained by the Teamsters Union after they threw their support behind Obama. Now the administration looks the other way even as these tariffs have resulted in U.S. job losses.

What is there not to understand about a Free Trade Agreement? It means that nations can trade with each other without tariffs and undue trade regulations . Both sides win. The United States enjoys a trade surplus with our seventeen Free Trade partners. But while we’re watching the drug cartels control the U.S./Mexican border, no one seems to be watching the Teamsters Union control the border in a different way that is equally devastating.

I’m a proud U.S. exporter and despise undue tariffs anywhere, but in this case, I side with the Mexican government. We are abrogating a signed treaty that has proved immensely valuable for both countries. We have allowed greedy union leaders to punish Mexican truckers which they consider competition. Yet, what they are really doing is punishing U.S. workers and small businesses.

If you want to see an improvement in our border, start by demanding that the administration conform to our treaty obligations of NAFTA. We did not elect the Teamsters Union to patrol our border. We thought we were electing someone who had a plan to create jobs. Take the first step this November and elect members of Congress that will pay attention to the trade war brewing with Mexico by supporting NAFTA. This is a war we cannot afford.

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