Today, as the administration announced that it would begin an open comment period on its proposal to resolve a cross-border trucking dispute with Mexico, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet encouraged Coloradans to make their voices heard on the issue, which affects hundreds of the state's agricultural producers, processors and workers.
President Obama and President Calderon have been in talks to resolve a dispute about allowing trucks originating in Mexico to have greater access to U.S. roads, which has resulted in tariffs Mexico has legally imposed on U.S. products. Mexico recently began imposing new tariffs of 20 to 25 percent on approximately 80 percent of cheese exports to Mexico and other tariffs that negatively affect potato, pork and other agricultural products. Colorado's dairy, pork and potato industries contribute millions of dollars in exports and support hundreds of jobs throughout Colorado, but their potential job growth could be curbed by these high export tariffs. This 30-day comment period is the next step in developing a system that ensures safety on American roads and protects the interests of American workers, consumers and producers, which both senators hope will prevent future retaliation that risks Colorado industries.
"Any U.S.-Mexico agreement on a long-haul, cross-border trucking program ought to ensure the safety of the trucks on our roads and respect American labor standards. We need to find a common-sense approach that allows both countries to resolve the underlying problem of retaliatory tariffs on Colorado exports, which continue to threaten our dairy, pork and potato producers here at home," Udall said. "I'm pleased the administration is seeking feedback from Colorado stakeholders, and I urge our agricultural producers and others with concerns to weigh in so the process can move quickly."
"Today's announcement is encouraging and brings us one step closer to resolving an international trade dispute that has come at the expense of our agricultural producers," said Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. "Mexico is Colorado's largest agricultural trading partner so resolving this issue is key for rural Colorado's economy. I encourage all Coloradans with an interest in this issue to take advantage of this comment period and provide Washington with a common-sense Colorado perspective."