U.S., Mexico reach agreement on sugar imports

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The United States and Mexico late Oct. 27 reached an agreement to avoid antidumping and countervailing duties on U.S. sugar imports from Mexico. The deal includes minimum prices for raw and refined sugar imports as well as volume and timing restrictions.

“The agreements should provide critical stability in a market that is important to both countries, while also ensuring that farmers and sugar refiners in the United States have an opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” said Stefan Selig, undersecretary of commerce for international trade.

The draft agreement sets the minimum price for refined sugar imports from Mexico at 23.57c a lb and for raw sugar imports at 20.75c a lb. The deal also limits the amount of refined sugar imports and provides for timing of imports. As a result, preliminary duties will be suspended.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in a preliminary determination on Aug. 26 imposed countervailing duties (anti-subsidy) of 2.99% to 17.01% on U.S. imports of sugar from Mexico, indicating the D.O.C. found that Mexican imports benefited from support from the Mexican government. The D.O.C. on Monday made a preliminary determination to impose antidumping duties from 39.54% to 47.26%.

The American Sugar Coalition, a group of U.S. sugar producers, filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with the D.O.C. and the U.S. International Trade Commission on March 28 claiming U.S. imports of subsidized sugar from Mexico had caused about $1 billion in damage to U.S sugar producers this year.

The I.T.C. on May 9 made a preliminary determination of injury in the case following a D.O.C. decision on April 17 to initiate an investigation of countervailing duties on U.S. sugar imports from Mexico.
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