Mexico's Canacar transport association has commenced an arbitration action against the United States, seeking $30 billion in compensation for Washington's refusal to fully open the border to Mexican trucks, the Excelsior daily reported Saturday.

Canacar director Jose Refugio Muñoz Lopez said in an interview with the Mexico City daily that the U.S. government, in the wake of the announcement, had expressed interest in reaching a negotiated solution before the case goes to arbitration.

A total of 30,000 Mexican truckers affected by the United States' non-compliance with the trucking provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement have signed on to the arbitration action.

The paper said a U.S.-based law firm was representing Canacar in the case.

Muñoz criticized the so-called Demonstration Project, a cross-border pilot program aimed at facilitating Mexican truckers' access to U.S. roads, saying that "in no way has it served as a mechanism for U.S. compliance with its requirements under NAFTA," which entered into force 20 years ago, the daily reported.

He said Mexican trucking companies have been forced to make investments in the United States and create cargo-transfer zones along the border.

The Canacar chief said President Barack Obama and Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto would address the matter at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 19 in Toluca, capital of the central state of Mexico.

Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, the other member of the NAFTA trade bloc, also is scheduled to attend the meeting.

Canacar spokespersons could not be reached to provide further details on the arbitration action.

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