| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Oct 6 Mexican trucks will start
crossing the U.S. border again in a couple of weeks, reducing
transportation costs between the two neighbors by some 15
percent, Mexico's Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari said.
The resolution of the long-standing cross-border trucking
dispute should give an additional boost to Mexican
manufacturers, who have been fighting to increase their market
share in the United States.
"If you take into consideration that Mexico's manufacturing
costs are at least 25 percent lower than in the U.S., this is
going to be a very strong competitive advantage," Ferrari told
Reuters in an interview late Wednesday.
Mexican manufacturers have been in a fierce battle with
Chinese exporters to gain market share in the U.S.
The first trucks to cross the border will come from
companies that have already applied to participate in an
inspection and monitoring program signed by U.S. President
Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in July.
Other companies willing to join the program have to go
through a certification process that lasts about 18 months, the
Potential savings from the program could total $675 million
per year, considering that limitations to the free transit of
Mexican trucks have added $150 in additional costs to each of
their 4.5 million annual trips to the United States, Ferrari
As soon as the first trucks enter U.S. territory, Mexico
will eliminate 50 percent of the retaliatory tariffs imposed on
U.S. goods, causing about $2 billion in commercial losses to
the United States.
"We reserve our right to retaliate on that if the program
stops for a reason in the future," Ferrari said.
Ferrari also said the government maintained its forecasts
for foreign direct investment (FDI) next year despite the
uncertainty stemming from the European sovereign debt crisis
and drug-related violence in Mexico.
The government is maintaining its expectations of about $19
billion to $21 billion in FDI for 2012, compared with this
year's estimated $18 billion to $20 billion, Ferrari said.
"It's quite challenging, especially when there is a crisis,
but what I can tell you is that so far we haven't seen any
slowdown in foreign direct investment."
(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; editing by Jeffrey