- - Wednesday, July 6, 2011


U.S., Mexico sign trucking pact

MEXICO CITY | U.S. and Mexican officials signed an agreement Wednesday allowing each country’s trucks to traverse the other’s highways, implementing a key provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after nearly two decades of bickering.

Transportation Secretaries Ray LaHood and Dionisio Perez-Jacome signed the three-year memorandum, which is based on an agreement announced in March by Presidents Obama and Felipe Calderon.

NAFTA, signed in 1994, had called for Mexican trucks to have unrestricted access to highways in border states by 1995 and full access to all U.S. highways by January 2000. Canadian trucks have no limits on where they can go.

But until now, Mexican trucks have seldom been allowed farther than a buffer zone on the U.S. side of the border. In retaliation, Mexico had imposed higher tariffs on dozens of U.S. products.

The Mexican government has now agreed to suspend those tariffs as long as the agreement is in place.


Premier warns against descent into lawlessness

ATHENS | Prime Minister George Papandreou warned on Wednesday that violent protests against spending cuts to satisfy international lenders threatened to lead to the kind of barbarism that in the past had derailed democracy in Greece.

The austerity required in exchange for a bailout for debt-ridden Greece has sparked attacks on politicians and bloody demonstrations on the streets of Athens, where hooded youths have fought running battles with riot police.

In a reference to the installation of the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974, Mr. Papandreou told a Cabinet meeting that undermining democratic institutions in the past had led to a “derailment of democracy.”

“We must all learn from history,” he said.

A government official made clear Mr. Papandreou did not mean there was a risk the military would take over.


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