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Truckers' protest target should be NAFTA

By Henry Lamb
web posted April 23, 2007
The parade of tractor-trailer trucks now heading toward the nation's capitol, hopes to bring D.C. traffic to a standstill, April 23-24.  The  protest is against the recent announcement that Mexican trucks will be allowed to deliver goods directly from Mexican ports to customers anywhere in the United States.

This protest is an eruption of frustration by Americans who are directly impacted by the erosion of a fundamental principle of American governance: the power of government is limited by the consent of the governed.  The decision to allow Mexican trucks into the interior of the country has not been approved by Congress, and therefore, does not reflect the consent of the governed.

A little history.  During the Carter administration, when Robert Pastor was Director of the Office of Latin American Affairs,  Mexican trucks could apply to the Interstate Commerce Commission for a permit to deliver anywhere in the U.S.  In 1982, during the Reagan years, the people who are governed convinced Congress to authorize the president to issue a two-year moratorium on Mexican truck permits, because Mexican trucks failed to meet U.S. safety requirements.

This moratorium was extended until the first Bush administration, when U.S. Trade Representative, Carla A. Hills, negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The Agreement, signed in 1992, required the U.S. to phase out the moratorium by 2000.  The president did phase out the moratorium on bus traffic, but retained the moratorium on trucks, due to continuing concerns about Mexican truck safety.

Mexico challenged U.S. action under the dispute resolution provisions of NAFTA, and in February 2001, an international arbitration panel determined that the United States' "blanket refusal" of Mexican motor carrier applications breached the United States' obligations under NAFTA. (App. 279, ¶ ;295)

In an effort to override the NAFTA ruling, Congress attached a provision to the 2001 appropriations bill that prohibited the expenditure of funds to review applications for Mexican trucks to deliver goods into the interior of the country, until the Department of Transportation could implement procedures for insuring the safety of Mexican trucks.  The prohibition was extended to fiscal years  2003-2004.

A 2004 lawsuit challenged whether the Department of Transportation had complied with environmental regulations, which further delayed the implementation of the NAFTA decision to allow Mexican trucks into the U.S.  Twelve Congressmen are co-sponsoring the  `NAFTA Trucking Safety Act of 2007' (HR1756), which is another effort to delay the Mexican trucks until their safety can be certified.  But Congress is almost out of ammunition, as are the non-government organizations that tried to block the action in the courts.

NAFTA's Article 511 requires the U.S. to conform its laws to NAFTA rules, and when the rules change, the U.S. is required to bring its laws into conformity within 180 days.

Obviously, the U.S. has not met this requirement, and has successfully delayed compliance with NAFTA's Mexican truck ruling for six years.  This is why the current plans to create a North American Community call for the creation of a "North American Inter-Parliamentary Group" of appointed bureaucrats who can override the legislatures of participating nations.

This is a blatant attempt to by-pass Congress, and thereby eliminate the fundamental principle that government power in the United States is limited by the consent of the governed.

Plans for the North American Community, or "Union," as many describe it, are being implemented now, with the construction of a Trans-Texas Corridor, which is the first segment of a system of  NAFTA Super-corridors.  These 1200-foot wide corridors are designed to carry multiple lanes of car traffic, multiple lanes of truck traffic, separate rail lines for freight and passenger trains, pipelines, and communications towers.

With the proper Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) installed, a Mexican truck can load goods from China, or any other country, in southern Mexico, and drive directly to any destination in the United States, without even stopping at the border.  To many people, this appears to be an open invitation for friend or foe to bring whatever they wish into the American heartland. 

Most Americans are still unaware of the evolving North American Union.  The Mexican truck ruling is only one of the many ways the NAU is eroding national sovereignty and transforming America's system of government.   But people are slowly learning about this disaster.  There is a resolution now in Congress to halt the effort, and at least 12 state legislatures have launched resolutions calling on Congress to stop it. 

Citizen action is the only way the NAU can be stopped.  Now is the time to help Congress see the light by making them feel the heat. ESR

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.


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