DALLAS, Texas. This week, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico began renegotiations of NAFTA. The North American Fair Trade Agreement is a comprehensive trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. The agreement impacts the cost of goods, the flow of jobs, and the flow of goods between the three countries. According to the New York Times, negotiations have started with all three countries taking a tough stance on what they want and don’t want. According to the Times, NAFTA could impact the automobile industry. Currently cars made in Mexico can be imported without tariffs if 62.5% of the car’s value was manufactured in North America.
Another concern is how NAFTA will impact the trucking industry and safety. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucks originating and stored in Mexico may operate in the U.S. if they meet certain safety provisions. For instance, the trucks must be able to show that they can operate under U.S. safety standards. Drivers must adhere to drug and alcohol testing programs and must show that they are able to abide by U.S. hours of service laws that limit how long drivers can be on the road for a given shift. However, these standards could be hard to measure. As it stands, U.S. regulators already have a tough time getting U.S. truck drivers to comply with hours of service laws. Drivers sometimes falsify logs. While more logs are going online, the shift has been slow.
Yet, according to the Journal of Commerce, some supporters of free trade hope that current NAFTA negotiations will open the border. As it stands, only a handful of truck operators originating in Mexico operate in the U.S. Based on recent reports, only 25 carriers are certified to operate across the border. Yet, any change to current policy and law is likely to require greater vigilance by regulators.
While many support the modernization of NAFTA to increase environmental protections and to account for online commerce, it appears that Canada and Mexico are united in resisting U.S. pressure and demands. Similarly members of Congress are wary of making sweeping changes to NAFTA or dropping the U.S. from the treaty altogether.
At the end of the day, border cities in Texas will be closely monitoring changes to NAFTA in the coming months, as the agreement stands to impact commerce, jobs, and business in these communities and also throughout the U.S. As it stands, all truck drivers in the U.S. are required to abide by federal and local laws—this includes both Mexican and U.S. carriers and drivers. However, if you have been injured in a truck accident by a Mexican carrier, your personal injury case may be more complex, as it may involve international stakeholders and companies. The Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Gregg are watching closely how current political changes will impact truck accident law. Even when truck companies are U.S. based, truck accident law can be incredibly complicated. If you’ve been in a crash in Dallas, visit our firm at www.gregginjury.com to learn more about your rights and options.