The American Insurance Association (AIA) urged delegates from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. meeting in Ottawa under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to adopt and enforce more rigorous cross-border trucking safety and security standards in light of the threat of terrorism in North America.
“Substantial improvements to cross-border safety and security must be an immediate priority for NAFTA,” said David Snyder, AIA assistant general counsel, who testified before NAFTA Monday. Snyder detailed items in need of urgent attention, including equipment and staffing for crossings; uniform safety standards coordinated at the highest levels; complete data systems on drivers, vehicles, motor carriers and cargo; financial data available to safety enforcers and insurers; and cooperative enforcement programs among the three countries.
“Not only will these measures improve everyday safety but they will aid with security efforts and help cross-border trucking compete for insurance capital under the post-September 11th market conditions,” Snyder said.
Although interim steps will probably be necessary, Snyder stated: “We would like to see the mutual recognition of insurance written in any one NAFTA country and the preservation of all existing insurance options. Tri-national insurance combined with the highest levels of safety standards and tri-lateral safety regulation could result in certified fleets not having to be detained long at the border.” In the meantime, he said, “Considering the delay in funding and implementing President Bush’s enhanced border safety program, we should not further open the border until the three countries are ready.”