The USA Rice Federation submitted comments to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the proposed pilot program for long-haul trucking agreed to by the United States and Mexico in connection with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In March 2009, Mexico subjected 90 U.S. agricultural and manufactured goods to increased import tariffs.  The list was expanded to 99 products on August 19, 2010.  The tariff hikes were retaliation for the U.S. ban on Mexican long-haul trucks entering the United States, which is counter to U.S. obligations under NAFTA.  Although rice has not been directly affected by Mexico's retaliatory tariff hikes, Mexico has signaled that other commodities could be subject to higher duties in the future.

The U.S. rice industry supports immediate implementation of the pilot program to avoid further trade disruption.

If successful, the program will ultimately result in the removal of $2.6 billion in regulatory tariffs on 99 agricultural and manufactured products.