WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met Thursday to discuss how the U.S. will address its ongoing dispute with Mexico over access to the U.S. market for Mexican trucks.
A spokesman for Kirk’s office said today she did not know whether the officials would issue any report on the meeting.
At a panel discussion at the Export-Import Bank's annual conference Thursday, Kirk stressed the importance of finding a resolution to the trucking dispute, arguing that the continued failure to do so is "costing jobs."
He also said that while the U.S. expects other trading partners to "play by the rules," the U.S. is expected to play by the rules as well.
"We need to get it done," Kirk said, in reference to the dispute. "We're very hopeful that we can get that resolved."
Congress killed a cross border pilot project with Mexico last year, citing primarily safety concerns.
Mexico immediately imposed tariffs on U.S. exports at the time estimated to cost U.S. interests about $2.4 billion.
Various groups, including lawmakers, have turned up the heat in recent days to get the Obama administration to come up with a new program.
Representatives of the Alliance to Keep U.S. Jobs said this week at a news conference that more than $1.5 billion in U.S. manufactured products and $900 million in U.S. agriculture products are impacted by the tariffs and more than 12,000 agricultural and 14,000 manufacturing jobs are at risk.
On March 1, a group of 56 lawmakers, almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to Kirk and LaHood urging immediate action to come up with a new program, noting the administration’s “lack of action and transparency” to end the dispute.
Editor Lyndon Finney of The Trucker staff may be contacted to comment at email@example.com.