Even though NAFTA was passed over ten years ago we are still seeing the underhanded attacks it has allowed on the regulatory state. The latest example comes with a recent announcement by the Department of Transportation of a program for truck companies based in Mexico (many of them U.S. multinationals) to do long-haul trucking outside of their current limited range.
Concerns have been raised for years about many of the inadequate regulation and oversight over these trucking companies' safety and environmental standards. As our director Lori Wallach notes, “this situation highlights how NAFTA threatens essential public safety and environmental quality in ways totally unrelated to trade.”
The program was announced recently after having been negotiated mainly in secret. Transparency has long been a problem for trade negotiators, but it appears they have gone too far this time as the program may be illegal. Public Citizen has joined with a number of unions and environmental groups to sue the Department of Transportation, noting that the normal period of time given for public input into such programs was not respected this time. To find out more read our press release on the challenge (and a longer timeline and backgrounder on the case here and here) and stay tuned here as the story develops.