MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Transportation will soon be ready to consider lifting restrictions on Mexican trucking firms seeking to operate throughout the United States, Mexico's Communications and Transport Ministry said on Sunday.
Mexico and the United States have been locked in a long-running dispute over granting Mexican truckers unlimited access to the United States, and a bilateral accord in 2011 set in motion a pilot program to phase out existing restrictions.
Mexican transport associations say U.S. curbs mean most truckers cannot deliver goods throughout the United States and must unload their cargo in border regions, putting them at a disadvantage to U.S. competitors who have access to Mexico.
U.S. curbs have persisted in spite of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States, which in theory allows Mexico's truckers to engage in long-haul operations inside the United States.
In a statement, the Mexican ministry said a pilot program had achieved its objectives and that the U.S. government would soon be ready to consider requests from Mexican trucking companies to be granted access to all of the United States.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Veronica Gomez; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)