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Dairy Facts 2016

Sugar Dispute Escalates with Threats of New Duties from Mexico

May 10, 2017

Following notification last week from the U.S. Department of Commerce that antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of Mexican sugar could soon resume, Mexico quickly countered with its own trade punch. Mexican Sugar Chamber President Juan Cortina Gallardo told Inside U.S. Trade today that Mexico plans to file an antidumping case against imports of U.S. high fructose corn syrup within a week.

The duties on Mexican sugar imports, which were first suspended in December 2014 pending a permanent agreement between the two countries, limit the amount of sugar Mexico can export to the United States while also establishing minimum prices on imports. In March, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and his Mexican counterpart engaged in renewed efforts to resolve the dispute, but the countries reached an impasse in negotiations. As a result, Ross set a deadline of June 5 for either reaching a resolution or resuming the collection of duties on sugar imports from Mexico.  

If no agreement is reached, Mexico will face antidumping duties ranging from 40 percent to 42 percent and countervailing duties from six percent to 44 percent for its sugar exports to the United States.

According to Politico, Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal will travel to Washington early next week to meet with Ross in an effort to avoid these and other retaliatory measures.

Until the U.S. sugar industry filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases in February 2014, there was free trade in sugar between the United States and Mexico since early 2008. Mexico has become an integral part of the North American sugar trade and is a critical supplier of sugar to the United States.

In numerous communications to the administration, IDFA has argued against the suspension agreements and duties imposed on Mexican sugar imports because they undermine free trade and the core principles of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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

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