The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has told the 7th Plenary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee meeting in Queretero, Mexico, that while it "acknowledges that some progress has been achieved towards the implementation of NAFTA's land transportation provisions . . . any substantive benefits realized by the Canadian industry in the six years since the agreement came into force have accrued almost entirely from increased volumes of trade transported by truck between Canada and the United States. The benefits originally anticipated to result from liberalized international access provisions and standards harmonization among the three countries have yet to materialize."
CTA's comments are contained in a written submission to the three NAFTA nations. The alliance calls the situation along the US-Mexico border "archaic," and says that from a business point of view, the failure to open the southern border has "restricted the ability of motor carriers from all three NAFTA countries from taking full advantage of the massive growth in trade that has occurred since the implementation of the agreement."
While more freight is crossing the borders, CTA says that "NAFTA's promise of a truly North American trucking industry, where carriers have the ability to compete for international traffic in all three countries, appears at this stage to be little more than a vague hope." In the final analysis, CTA feels that until the United States and Mexico resolve current border irritants, be they real or perceived, "NAFTA does not exist in trucking."
Regarding standards compatibility, CTA acknowledges that "the challenge of moving toward harmonization of standards is formidable. Discussions aimed at continental harmonization should arguably be tempered by the recognition that the idea of having one set of technical standards governing motor carriers throughout the NAFTA region is unlikely to be realized . . . Focusing on total uniformity fails to acknowledge that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for regulations to vary somewhat from one region to another in North America."