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International Commerce

Sound and expanding international commerce is essential to the continued expansion of the economy of the United States and to the greater prosperity and strength of all nations. Mutually beneficial trade raises standards of living by providing people with more goods at less real cost, by raising productivity, and by increasing economic efficiency through competition.

The United States has a vital stake in promoting measures to achieve the greatest possible relaxation of discriminatory and restrictive trade and investment practices. These discriminatory and restrictive practices reduce the flow of goods and services, reduce the volume of international payments and obstruct optimal efficiency in production, distribution and economic growth.

The United States government should promote these goals, consistent with the national interest, to maintain a strong, healthy, competitive, free market economy at home.

The transportation of goods in international commerce should not be hampered by regressive or discriminatory laws, regulations or policies in the areas of licensing, entry, taxation, equipment utilization and labor.

Equality of treatment and opportunity for United States motor carriers should be maintained in the international freight market. The U.S. government should maintain a policy of requiring foreign countries to provide U.S. motor carriers opportunity and treatment equivalent to that treatment received by carriers from a foreign country operating in the United States.

The U.S. government should also insure that U.S. motor carriers operating in a foreign country have the same opportunity and treatment enjoyed by domestic carriers of that country, or national treatment. Foreign carriers operating on U.S. roads should be subject to the same regulations and responsibilities by which U.S. carriers are expected to abide.

All laws and regulations affecting the trucking industry should address the impact that these rules will have on the United States and on the standing U.S. motor carriers and allied industries will have in the international marketplace.


In recent years, an increasing number of TCA members have been affected by government policies concerning international transportation and trade policy. The TCA general policy on international issues is "reciprocity". The following applies this principle to specific issues as they relate to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and adopts new policy in the area of equipment imports and immigration:

  1. Ownership: Eliminate Mexican and U.S. restrictions immediately, or in the interim, provide U.S. citizens with the reciprocal rights Mexican citizens enjoy in the U.S., i.e., minority ownership.
  2. Access: Immediate reciprocity for U.S. on Mexican frontier zone access; and phase in of interior access based on infrastructure development in Mexico. Progress should be measured by the bilateral transportation working group and access granted based on further infrastructure development.
  3. Economic Regulation: The NAFTA cannot be used to revise economic regulation on the Federal or State level.
  4. Immigration: Permit the use of non-national drivers for international freight movements, not for domestic movements. Qualified aliens should be permitted to immigrate into the U.S. for the purpose of taking permanent driver positions during times of driver shortages.
  5. Customs: Increase border inspection facilities; expand and harmonize hours of operation; dedicate existing commercial user fees to improvements in Customs facilities; and establish uniform electronic filing systems.


TCA supports the use and development of intermodal freight containers and seeks to be included in the full utilization of this modern tool of international trade. In order to fully participate in the international movement of containers, the following goals must be realized:

  1. External dimensions must be compatible with U.S. highway size regulations;
  2. Gross and axle weight limits must be compatible with U.S. weight regulations;
  3. Codes and their applications must be compatible with general trucking practices;
  4. Markings must be clearly recognizable and in harmony with U.S. practices;
  5. Work rules and practices must be compatible with normal trucking operations;
  6. Liability for containers and their contents should be on parity with that of other transport modes;
  7. Safety requirements should not discriminate against trucks;
  8. Security requirements should conform to trucking industry standards and practices;
  9. Equal treatment with other transport modes vis-à-vis all applicable customs, duties, and importation rules and regulations;
  10. Inspection and certification should be reasonable, non-conflicting and modally non-discriminatory; and
  11. Cost for repairs and maintenance should be fair and reasonably allocated among the modes.