This is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to its subscribers.
The U.S. International Trade Commission today voted 6 to 0 that Mexico’s sugar industry harmed American producers by dumping subsidized sugar onto the U.S. market, the American Sugar Alliance said in a news release.
The verdict means that an accord signed by the U.S. and Mexican governments to limit Mexico's imports will remain in effect for at least five years, ASA noted.
"U.S. sugar producers want NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] to operate as intended and to foster free and fair sugar trade between Mexico and the United States,” said Phillip Hayes, an ASA spokesman said.
“Today’s ruling helps accomplish that goal by upholding the governments’ agreement and addressing the unfair trade practices that were injuring American farmers, workers, and taxpayers,” Hayes added.
The Sweetener Users Association, which represents candy companies and other industrial users of sugar, said, “The ITC missed a key opportunity to do the right thing for American consumers, taxpayers and businesses.”
“The idea that domestic producers were suffering at a time when they made record profits is confounding,” the Sweetener Users said.
“What is clear, however, is that the temporary decline in U.S. sugar prices in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 crop year was attributable to the United States’ failed sugar policy, excess supply in the combined U.S.-Mexican sugar sector and the normal working of commodity markets — not to imports from Mexico.
“In fact, changes made to the sugar program in the 2008 farm bill caused U.S. sugar prices to soar well above the already high world price between 2009 and 2012. High profits in turn incentivized U.S. domestic producers, as well as Mexican producers, to increase their share of the U.S. sugar market.
“While today’s decision is unfortunate, SUA and sugar-using industry representatives will redouble our efforts to work with Congress to enact meaningful sugar program reform.”
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