MEXICO CITY -- The Mexican government suspended until further
notice a new program requiring drivers of U.S.-registered vehicles
entering Mexico to leave a deposit of up to $800.
Prompted by opposition to the measure from both sides of the
border, Mexico President Ernesto Zedillo ordered the suspension of
the initiative one day after it was implemented Dec. 1, according
to the Interior Ministry of Mexico. Officials plan to carefully
analyze the program in the coming weeks to make modifications, the
Interior Ministry said.
The measure, designed to prevent the illegal importation of U.S.
vehicles, has come under fire from U.S. groups and politicians, as
well as the Mexican Senate.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who wrote an opposition letter to the
Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Jesus F. Reyes-Heroles, is against
the policy because it will negatively impact U.S. citizens
traveling by car into Mexico for business or leisure, and it is not
in the spirit of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce
sided with the governor at a press conference attended by TAMACC
officials and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), among others. "We
think it is going to have adverse effects on U.S. citizens
traveling to Mexico; it is bad for business relations between the
two countries, and there is a possibility for credit card fraud,"
said Ray Leal, president and chief executive officer of the group.
Rep. Doggett voiced concern that the plan was ill-advised.
The new policy required drivers traveling beyond a border zone
to post a refundable deposit of between $400 and $800 (depending on
the year of the car) by credit card or cash.