Describing NAFTA as a “work in progress,” David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said “the tragic events of Sept 11, 2001, will only accelerate the process of North American economic integration as governments seek ways to improve collective security.”
Bradley made these remarks in a speech to government and business leaders attending the NAFTA Land Transport Conference in San Antonio TX recently.
“In the past, CTA has argued, out of frustration over delays in implementation of border access and harmonization provisions, that NAFTA simply did not exist in trucking,” said Bradley.
He said the problems started when the United States unilaterally decided not to implement the NAFTA agreement to open the southern border to truck traffic. “The growth in trade the NAFTA countries have enjoyed, and which the trucking industry has benefited from, has taken place in spite of the fact that most of the land transportation provisions have not been implemented,” Bradley said.
The Bush administration has announced that it will soon open the southern border. Though he hopes a turning point has been reached, Bradley concedes that domestic policy concerns remain that will have to be addressed within the NAFTA context.
“How can we talk of free trade and maximizing productivity and efficiency when cabotage laws continue to preclude our carriers and drivers from making even the simplest repositioning moves in the other country? Or when junior governments implement taxes and subsidies that if not technically illegal, are at least in conflict with the spirit of NAFTA and international trade norms?” he said.