WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce in a preliminary determination today imposed duties of as much as 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.

A 17.01% duty will be imposed on sugar imported from mills operated by the Mexican government (which accounts for about 20% of Mexico’s sugar production), sugar from the Mexican company GAM will have a 2.99% duty and sugar from all other Mexican mills will be 14.87%. The duties could become effective as soon as next week but won’t be final until January when the investigation is set to conclude.

The determination, which can still be overturned, is part of an ongoing investigation of antidumping and countervailing duty charges against the Mexican sugar industry. 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.

Reuters reported earlier today that the Mexican sugar industry said it would agree to a deal to limit sugar exports to the United States as long as any agreement had a minimum 1 million tonnes per cycle. The D.O.C. ruling could be set aside if all parties accept an industry agreement.