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Doha Side Deal… North American Trade Grows…

With the Doha global trade talks bogged down, 22 emerging economies agreed to a preferential trade negotiations blueprint to cut tariffs by at least 20 percent.

DOHA SIDE DEAL: With the Doha global trade talks bogged down, 22 emerging economies, including India, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam and Egypt, agreed to a preferential trade negotiations blueprint to cut tariffs by at least 20 percent on about 70 percent of goods exported within the group of nations. Jorge Taiana, Argentina’s minister of foreign affairs and trade, who is chairing the initiative, said in Geneva that plans are to conclude a final accord by September. Brazil’s foreign minister, Celso Amorim, noted the 22 nations taking part represent 15 to 18 percent of world trade and 16 percent of industrial production. The parties are also expected to broker an accord on rules of origin.

NORTH AMERICAN TRADE GROWS: U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico rose in 2008 despite the worldwide economic crisis, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. More than $964 billion in goods from Canada and Mexico were brought into the U.S. last year, a 6.1 percent increase from 2007. Between 2003 and 2008, the value of trade with the two countries increased by more than $335 billion, or 53.2 percent. The data was part of the fifth annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics online database.

The numbers also revealed trucks to be the primary mode of transportation for merchandise to enter the country, with trucks responsible for carrying almost 60 percent of all goods. Some 10.8 million trucks entered the U.S. from Canada and Mexico last year. Detroit and Laredo, Tex., were the top entry points into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico, respectively.

TRUCK PROGRAM NEARS GOAL: The Port of Long Beach Clean Trucks Program expects to meet its goal of an 80 percent reduction in air pollution two years early. The initiative began in 2008 and has spurred the replacement of 5,600 older-model trucks. The port said another 2,400 trucks are on order. As of the new year, 90 percent of all trucks using the port will meet 2007 federal emission standards. Also on Jan. 1, the port will ban trucks with engines that pre-date 1993, and by January 2012, engines must be no older than 2007 in order to use the port.