The history of the trucking dispute of the US with Mexico can be traced within all the trade disputes between these two neighbors. The trade with Mexico was very small from the 1930s to middle the 1980s due to trade protectionist policies of Mexico. Mexico was making big efforts to be independent, it started by establishing all sort of restrictions against foreign investments, and trades. Mexico was trying to reinforce their industrial capacity, as well as the government was controlling more and more resources such as mining, or oil. Nevertheless, this strategy did not give the expected results, and in the 1980s a harsh inflation make the standard of living to decline rapidly (Villarreal 1, NAFTA).

In 1982 Mexico declared the inability to pay the country enormous debt. Mexico’s President, Miguel de la Madrid, stepped in and nationalized Mexico’s banks, although privatizing many state industries and making substantial movements towards trade liberalization as the only solution to Mexico economy. This background is important because it established the state of Mexico economy when they were seeking a free trade alliance with the US. The strategy changed from a strict protectionism to a non-stop openness of Mexico’s market, although Mexico economy was extremely poor, as well as terrible low education levels (Villarreal 2, NAFTA).

Even though Mexico low economic level at that time it managed to close ties with the US. In 1986 the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed to assured future free trade measures between both countries. The next year, in 1987 they both agreed on the Framework of Principles and Procedures for Consultation Regarding Trade and Investment Relations, which become the first legal framework to monitor trade relations. Following, in October 1989 a second agreement was reach: The Understanding Regarding Trade and Investment Facilitation Talks, which amplifies the previous one. A free trade trajectory that was clear to President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico when he approached President George H. W. Bush in 1990 to start negotiating what will become the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. NAFTA entered into effect in January 1994 (Villarreal 2, NAFTA).