Mexico threatens W.T.O. if no sugar agreement

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — Mexico wants a negotiated settlement in the sugar trade dispute with the United States and will take the case to the World Trade Organization if an agreement is not reached, according to a Dow Jones Newswires story quoting Mexican economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

Mr. Guajardo said Mexico was aiming for an agreement before the cane harvest begins there, which typically is in late November-early December, and before the U.S. Department of Commerce decides on antidumping duties on Oct. 24, according to the report. Those duties would be in addition to countervailing duties imposed as of Sept. 1 by the D.O.C. on U.S. imports of sugar from Mexico.

U.S. sugar producers in a March 28 petition to the D.O.C. and the U.S. International Trade Commission claimed Mexico was dumping subsidized sugar into the United States at a cost to U.S. producers of about $1 billion in the marketing year that just ended Sept. 30. So far the U.S. government has found in favor of the U.S. sugar producers, but the case is far from concluded with final determinations not due until early 2015.

Mr. Guajardo denied that Mexico was dumping sugar on the U.S. market.

“If we don’t reach an agreement, everyone loses,” Mr. Guajardo said in the Dow Jones story. “The Americans would lose because we’d take them to the W.T.O.; Mexicans would lose because they’d lose access to a fundamental market.”

U.S. imports of sugar from Mexico were estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a record high 2,136,000 short tons, raw value, in 2013-14, equal to about 15% of total U.S. supply.
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