Monday, April 02, 2007

Trucking Protectionism

Wall Street Journal ($$) editorial:

Speaking of protectionism, another bad economic omen is the way Senate Democrats are blocking access to the U.S. for Mexican long-haul trucks.

The truck opening was part of Nafta and was supposed to be completed seven years ago. In February, the Transportation Department finally announced a plan to grant 100 Mexican companies permission to exceed the current 25-mile limit on the U.S. side of the border for a one year period, thus delivering their cargo to its final destination across America. That would be good for U.S. consumers and productivity because distribution would immediately be more efficient. It would also show that the U.S. keeps its treaty commitments.

But if Mexican truckers don't have to hand their cargo to an American truck and driver, it would also mean real competition for U.S. truckers. That's anathema to the Teamsters union, which tapped Democrats Byron Dorgan (North Dakota), Dianne Feinstein (California) and Patty Murray (Washington) to do its bidding by sponsoring an amendment to delay the proposal and attaching it to the Iraq and Afghanistan war supplemental spending bill.

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