Mexican carriers reportedly seek arbitration in cross-border long-haul dispute

Canacar reportedly has filed for arbitration against the United States because the Mexican trucking association says its neighbor continues to violate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In the past few days, several Mexican publications reported that Canacar had notified the U.S. Department of State of its intent. Under NAFTA, the two nations were to have reciprocal access beyond the border zone by 2000, but U.S. non-compliance has cost bilateral trade $1.87 million and the industry $381 million annually, Canacar said.  

The announcement came as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration nears the Oct. 14 end date of the cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico, which allowed a small number of trucking companies hauling authority beyond the border commercial zone and into the U.S. interior. The FMCSA had said it needed 46 carriers to participate in the three-year program to yield statistically valid data to gauge the safety of Mexican carriers.

By Sept. 28, the agency had conducted 5,497 inspections, more than what it needed, but it had only 13 participants. That week, GCC Transportes and Transportes Monteblanco each had one truck placed out of service.

The association also asked Mexico’s Minister of Economy to impose sanctions against the United States, which has not implemented previous programs to test the safety of Mexican carriers and has not given a timeline for when it will open the border, Canacar said.  

Last February, a Mexico City daily reported Canacar had commenced arbitration seeking $30 billion in compensation, but the United States had indicated it was willing to negotiate to avoid arbitration. Later, the state department said the organization has not filed for arbitration since it served notice in 2009, but officials did not provide further information.

The association’s 2009 notice sought $6 billion in compensation over allegations member companies lost money because NAFTA was not upheld. The state department, which represents the United States in NAFTA arbitrations, verified it had not received a Notice of Arbitration since the association filed in 2009.