49. b. Declaration of Reuben Jeffery III, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, Sierra Club (9th Cir. Aug. 30, 2007)
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
SIERRA CLUB, et al. )
V. ) No. 07-73415
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF )
TRANSPORTATION, et al. )
DECLARATION OF REUBEN JEFFERY
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury, to the best of my knowledge, information and belief, as follows:
1. I am the Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs. I have held my current position since June 27, 2007. In this capacity, I serve as the principal adviser to the Secretary of State on matters of foreign economic, energy and agricultural policy, and I supervise the execution of such policy within the Department of State.
2. I make this declaration on the basis of personal knowledge and professional judgment, as well as on the basis of information provided to me in the course of my official duties.
3. In the course of my duties as Under Secretary, I have become aware of the “Demonstration Project” that the Department of Transportation is preparing to initiate with respect to expanding the operations of Mexico-domiciled motor carriers in the United States beyond the border commercial zones and permitting U.S.-domiciled motor carriers to operate in Mexico. I am also aware that the Sierra Club and other petitioners filed on August 29, 2007 an Emergency Motion for Stay with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to prohibit the Department of Transportation from proceeding with the Demonstration Project at this time.
4. The U.S.-Mexico relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships for the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which entered into force in 1994, has helped build a dynamic trading system by liberalizing trade in goods and services, thereby promoting growth and improving competitiveness in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Farmers, workers and manufacturers benefit from the removal of arbitrary and discriminatory trade restrictions, while consumers enjoy lower prices and more choices. Under NAFTA, U.S.–Mexico trade in goods grew to over USD 332 billion in 2006, aided by low tariffs, coordinated border procedures, and key infrastructure investment -- all outgrowths of NAFTA implementation.
5. Initiation of the Demonstration Project is an important interim step toward fulfilling U.S. obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and has been repeatedly delayed before. The issue of cross-border trucking is one of the last matters to be resolved before the final phase of NAFTA implementation in January 2008. Mexican President Calderon’s administration has committed to implementing the final tariff cuts and quota elimination on January 1, 2008, in keeping with the NAFTA schedule, but faces substantial domestic opposition to doing so. Lack of U.S. progress on the cross-border trucking issue may affect Mexico’s planned grant of enhanced market access in those key sectors.
6. Moreover, U.S. compliance with our NAFTA obligations is seen by Mexico as a bellwether of the level of the U.S. commitment to the bilateral relationship overall. Additional delay on cross-border trucking could aggravate U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations, slow progress on other issues, and reinforce Mexico’s concerns over the U.S. commitment to comply with its NAFTA obligations.
7. Initiation of the Demonstration Project will also lead to increased operations by U.S.-domiciled motor carriers in Mexico, improving the efficiency of our own transportation networks. It is expected that expanding our southern border operations to include cross-border long-haul trucking will promote American competitiveness and market access, and thereby lead to job creation and lower costs for American consumers. Additional delay on cross-border trucking would mean postponement of such benefits. The Department of State and the Administration remain fully committed to implementing the Demonstration Project, which is a key element in the NAFTA partners’ efforts to improve global competitiveness for North American manufacturers, farmers and workers.
Reuben Jeffery III
Date: August 30, 2007