Market News & Headlines >> U.S., Mexico Reach Sugar Agreement

The United States and Mexico on Monday averted a possible trade war when negotiators reached a deal to avoid steep U.S. import duties on Mexican sugar just hours before the measures were set to take effect.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said officials of the two countries initialed a draft agreement that would suspend both anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on Mexican sugar if adopted in full.

That Department, in August, recommended anti-subsidy duties on Mexican sugar of up to 17.01% and on Monday made a preliminary determination that imports should incur dumping margins ranging from 39.54% to 47.26%. The rulings came in response to an anti-dumping case filed against Mexico by the U.S. sugar industry.

Mexico in turn had threatened to file a case at the World Trade Organization against U.S. sugar industry subsidies and said it might consider retaliatory duties against U.S. fructose.

The deal is good news for processors of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn producers. The U.S. exported about 1.147 million metric tons of HFCS to Mexico in 2013, accounting for more than 77% of total HFCS exports.

Monday's deal is now open for a 30-day public comment period, after which it can be finalized.

The American Sugar Alliance which represents U.S. petitioners endorsed the deal in a news release on Tuesday.