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US legislation will stop Mexican truckers at the border

The spending bill Obama signed Wednesday eliminates a program that let some drivers deliver goods in the US.

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Cross-border commerce hit another red light late Tuesday when the Senate eliminated a pilot program that allowed some Mexican companies to ship goods deep into the United States.

The $410 billion spending bill approved by senators Tuesday and scheduled to be signed by President Obama Wednesday eliminated funding for the controversial program and could reinforce concerns that the US is turning to protectionism as it fights its deepest recession in decades.

Juan Carlos Velasco Perez, a Mexican lawmaker with the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, says the Senate action was “lamentable,” but “not surprising.”

“The US government puts a lot of limits on our trucks in the border states so they can’t get in,” says Mr. Velasco Perez, who is a member of the Transportation Committee in the lower house of Mexico’s Congress.

He said his party would meet with Mexican trucking organizations to discuss pushing through “reciprocal measures.” In statements to the press last week, Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the US, labeled the measure “protectionism” and threatened to take retaliatory action.

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