WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce late April 18 said it was initiated an antidumping and antisubsidy-duty investigation into U.S. imports of sugar from Mexico. A group of U.S. sugar producers petitioned the D.O.C. and the U.S. International Trade Commission March 28 claiming subsidized Mexican sugar was being dumped in the U.S. market at a cost of about $1 billion to U.S. sugar producers in 2013-14.

The Sweetener Users Association said restrictions on imports of Mexican sugar would harm U.S. sugar-using companies and again called for reform of the U.S. sugar program.

“The Commerce Department’s initiation of an investigation is routine and expected, but does not mean that the domestic industry’s request for relief has merit,” the S.U.A. said.

Sugar producers reiterated their stand that Mexican sugar was being dumped in the United States.

“It is clear that the petitions have merit in the eyes of the U.S. government,” said Phillip Hayes, a spokesperson for the American Sugar Alliance. “Considering what’s currently happening in the market, we are hopeful that corrective action will be taken as soon as possible.”

The I.T.C., which will determine if the domestic sugar industry suffered material injury because of the imports, held a preliminary conference on the investigation on April 18 and is scheduled to make a preliminary decision by May 12.