Citing public “fear mongering,” American Trucking Associations sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer calling on the federal government to maintain the cross-border plan with Mexico as part of the ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

ATA senior economist Bob Costello said in the letter groups are spreading false information about Mexican trucks driving beyond commercial border zone. He said the trucking program “is not an open door policy” for Mexican carriers.

“You might find it odd that ATA supports the Mexican truck program, but it is for good reason,” Costello wrote. “NAFTA’s trucking provisions help reduce border congestion. Congestion increases without NAFTA’s trucking provisions because trailers often return empty after delivering freight across the border.”

Costello noted the largest Mexican-domiciled carrier in the program, representing over half of all the Mexican drivers, is owned by an American company. 

“Mexican carriers operating beyond the commercial border zones have an excellent safety record. They are operating equipment similar to U.S. motor carriers and must adhere to all U.S. laws and regulations,” he said.

In June, ATA said the government should consider allowing commingling of cargo entering Mexico.