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TRUCKERS ENDANGERED IF NAFTA PACT PASSES

In a Viewpoints piece May 21 headlined "Free trade will help smaller U.S. businesses" by John L. Manzella, the author explains how "currently goods shipped from the U.S. sit at the border waiting to be transferred to a Mexican rig." He states, "NAFTA will remove most trucking restrictions by the year 2000, making it possible for small companies to ship their goods from the United States all the way to the final destination in Mexico."

More precise: If the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement becomes reality, American truckers will be "permitted" to drive their rigs all the way to any place in Mexico.

This will certainly be a new privilege they can do without. Mexican highways are extremely dangerous, and the newspapers there daily report holdups and murders on the open roads.

We know from our relatives in Mexico how armed bandits take on any vehicle, from private cars to first-class tour buses, and clean out passengers as they come.

Three years ago the American Automobile Association discontinued issuing their "triptiks" to Mexican destinations and now also advise members not to drive there.

Mexican truckers routinely form protective convoys on their way through the southern parts of that country.

Why should American truck drivers want to go through the same troubles and possibly risk their lives in the interest of a trade agreement most Americans don't want?

ERNEST METTENDORF
Boston

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