Truck and highway at sunset

Mexican motor carriers may now conduct long-haul cross-border services in the U.S., the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced in a 1/9 press release.

This announcement comes on the heels of a 3-year pilot program conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in which 13 Mexican carriers successfully established a safety record for operating beyond the commercial zones within the immediate vicinity of the US-Mexico border. When the pilot ended last October, the DOT issued participating carriers new certificates for long-haul cross-border operating authority, a condition for those that successfully completed the program.

By granting operating authority to Mexican trucking companies, the U.S. government is hoping to dissolve the long looming threats of retaliatory duties from its southern neighbor. In 2009 Mexico levied tariffs against the U.S. as punishment for failing to open its roads to Mexican truckers–a provision of NAFTA. U.S. exporters paid more than $2.4 billion before President Obama and Calderon signed an agreement to launch a cross-border trucking pilot program.

The DOT is currently accepting applications from Mexican carriers for long-haul operating authority.