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Dairy Facts 2016

Senator Urges Caution on U.S.-Mexico Sugar Agreements

Oct 26, 2016
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sent a letter last week on behalf of Unilever and the J.M. Smucker Company to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging careful consideration of the potential impact that modifications to the U.S.-Mexico sugar suspension agreements could have on U.S. liquid sugar producers. This letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, which was mentioned in a report last week in Food Business News, follows a similar letter that the Sweetener Users Association recently sent to Pritzker. 

Officials from the Mexican government and the Commerce Department have met several times this year to discuss a renegotiation of the anti-dumping and countervailing duty suspension agreements, which for two years have limited the amount of sugar that Mexican companies can export to the United States. The agreements also require that sale prices reach specified minimums.

According to Food Business News, Alexander noted that efforts are being made to change the most recent anti-dumping and countervailing duty suspension agreement with Mexico to require sugar imported from Mexico to be sold only to refineries that granulate and crystalize sugar. “This is problematic,” Alexander said in the letter, “because there are sugar refineries in the U.S. that only produce liquid sugar, which is used by a number of domestic manufacturers such as Unilever and Smuckers. Restricting imports could reduce competition and harm domestic liquid sugar refiners, as well as the manufacturers and producers these refiners supply.”

Unilever and J.M. Smucker are members of IDFA.

In its letter to Pritzker last month, the Sweetener Users Association, of which IDFA is a member, called for the renegotiation of the agreements and recommended increasing the amount of raw sugar Mexico is required to ship to the U.S. SUA also asked for reducing minimum prices in the agreements to the support prices established by Congress in law, rejecting any calls to further increase these prices and holding comment periods for proposed changes.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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