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So far tire dealers on the north side of the U.S./Mexican border haven't had much reason to be happy about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Though the first step toward eventual elimination of trade duties between the two nations has been taken, dealers have found that shipping products southward is neither easier nor any less expensive.
That's because nothing has been done to get rid of the true obstacles of trade -- the non-tariff barriers Mexico erected to protect itself from a tidal wave of American-made goods, says Spencer Giffords of Tucson, Ariz.based El Campo Tire.
The Federales still patrol the border in a manner too reminiscent of Pancho Villa and his banditos, collecting bribes to "ensure" the safe passage of tire truckloads into Mexico and sometimes seizing vehicles and their cargoes outright.
Other pieces of barbed wire are the Normas Obligatorias Mexicanas (NOM), established in late 1992 to force exporters to have their tires tested in Mexico -- ironically …