NAFTA freight shipping tops $100 billion

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Trade under the 1990’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) topped $100 billion in one month for the first time last year, according to statistics released by the Obama administration on Tuesday.

The Department of Transportation said trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico totaled $103 billion in October 2013. The figure was a 4.5 percent increase over shipping between the NAFTA countries in October 2012, the agency said.

Trade via surface transportation, such as truck, railways and pipelines, was valued at $85.4 billion, setting an all-time record for the modes.

The DOT said truck shipments among the NAFTA countries was valued at $61.4 billion in October 2013. Rail transactions totaled $15.4 billion, pipelines carried $8 billion, ships carried $9 billion and airplanes carried $3.9 billion.

The NAFTA bill, which eliminated tariffs on shipments between the countries in North America, has emerged during recent political campaigns as a controversial issue, especially in Midwestern states. The measure was passed during the early years of Clinton Administration.

As economic conditions in the Midwest worsened, candidates often took protectionists stance against NAFTA, especially in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns in battleground states like Ohio.