Posted at 11:45 AM
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. and his Mexican Counterpart Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal announced a renewed effort to resolve ongoing issues with Mexican sugar export and anti-bunching limits.
“I hope that this represents the beginning of a working relationship that will bear fruit for both our Nations,” said Secretary Ross. “It is important that we quickly begin our work together on the day to day issues that arise from our important bilateral relationship.”
The most recent problem arose after, pursuant to agreements between the Governments of Mexico and the United States, sugar exports from Mexico to the U.S. were suspended after reaching the agreed to export ceiling. Mexican sugar producers acted quickly to halt their shipments of sugar to the United States under the existing suspension agreements once they identified that a temporary limit had been reached.
“I would like to congratulate the Mexican sugar producers for their diligent handling of this issue,” said Secretary Ross.
The genesis of these difficulties is years old. In April 2014, after complaints from American sugar stakeholders, the Department of Commerce initiated antidumping and countervailing duties investigations against Mexican sugar exports. In December 2014, Commerce entered into so-called “suspension agreements” with the Government of Mexico and Mexican sugar producers that suspended these investigations in exchange for Mexico limiting its exports and imposing minimum export prices on sugar sold to the United States.
Unfortunately, American stakeholders soon raised fresh concerns about a shortage of raw sugar supplies and price suppression in the refined sugar market allegedly caused by flaws in the suspension agreements. So in February 2016, Commerce initiated an administrative review of the agreements. In June 2016, re-entered negotiations with the Government of Mexico, Mexican industry, as well as the domestic sugar industry and other stakeholders to try to reach a long-term solution.
Since the opening of negotiations, some key issues remain unresolved, and the last round of talks with Mexican and U.S. stakeholders was in mid-December 2016.
“With the deadline for conclusion of the Department’s administrative review fast approaching, after consultations with the American sugar industry and the Government of Mexico, I can today announce an extension of the final decision date for the review from April 4th until May 1st,” continued Secretary Ross.
This extension will allow more time for the United States and Mexico to reach agreement on a resolution of the serious issues we have identified with the current agreements. A mutually beneficial resolution will be evident if we achieve a long-term sustainable solution.