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Commerce Questions Mexican Compliance with Suspension Agreements

Dec 08, 2016

The Department of Commerce on Monday released preliminary findings of its review of U.S. agreements with Mexico that have suspended anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of Mexican sugar. In the findings, Commerce said some sugar transactions during the past year may not have been in compliance with the suspension agreements. The department also questioned whether the agreements are in the “public interest,” saying it was reviewing the availability of sugar supplies in the United States and whether “effective monitoring” is feasible.

The agreements limit the amount of sugar that Mexican companies can export to the United States and set price floors for that sugar.

Commerce is now requesting additional information and comments, saying it doesn’t have enough information to decide whether Mexico had adhered to the terms of the agreements.  Following the comment period, which is open-ended for now, parties may request a hearing, submit a case and issue briefs. The final results of the department’s review are expected to be released within the next four months.

Imperial Sugar Calls for End to Agreements

Also this week, the Imperial Sugar Company called for immediate termination of the agreements if the visit by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to Mexico doesn’t result in revisions to the agreements by Dec. 9. In a letter to Pritzker, the company said the agreements violate U.S. laws governing fair trade and “will add another 1.2 billion dollars of injury to our steadily weakening industry.”

The Sweetener Users Association, of which IDFA is a member, also has suggested several revisions to the agreements to make them more effective.


In December 2014, the Department of Commerce, the Government of Mexico and producers and exporters accounting for substantially all imports of sugar from Mexico signed agreements suspending the antidumping investigation and the countervailing duty investigation on sugar from Mexico and providing for more control over Mexican sugar exports to the U.S.

Recently, due to tight raw cane sugar supplies, U.S. sugar cane refiners called for a renegotiation of the suspension agreements. The Mexican Government and the Department of Commerce have met several times in the past few months but have not come to an agreement yet.

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

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