Government Statistics Show Adverse Effect of Battery Exports to Mexico

On January 7, 2014, the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) issued a release stating that US trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, in October 2013 was $103.1 billion, up 4.5 percent from October 2012 and exceeding $100 billion for the first month on record. RSR Corp.’s president and CEO Robert E. Finn issued the following statement in response to the release of these data.

“The Department of Transportation BTS data show the value of US truck exports to Mexico jumped by 8.3 percent in October 2013 over October 2012, representing the second largest increase of any modality reported by BTS. This increase mirrors the ongoing surge in the amount of spent lead acid batteries bypassing American secondary lead smelters and being trucked to Mexican smelters that operate pursuant to weak environmental controls and worker protection requirements.”

“It is ironic that the increased trade benefits being touted by BTS are being fueled by domestic battery brokers, dealers, and manufacturers seeking to avoid the United States’ highly regulated smelters for Mexican facilities, none of which would be able to obtain appropriate federal or state permits in the United States because of poor emissions controls.”

“Rather than a cause of celebration, these data demonstrate that the ‘race to the bottom’ in environmental protection many feared would be caused by NAFTA has, in fact, occurred. We join others in our industry and call upon the Obama Administration to recognize the damage caused by increasing exports of batteries to Mexico and to take appropriate action to halt these exports,” said Finn.