Mexico and US reach “agreement in principle” on sugar conflict

The sugar accord prevents tariffs to Mexican exports, but limits from 53 to 30 percent refined sugar shipments
Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
Ivette Saldaña
Mexico City
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Without the approval of American sugar producers, the governments of Mexico and the United States announced an “agreement in principle” in regards to the sugar market, which will have to be confirmed in the coming days.

“Unfortunately, despite all of these gains, the U.S. sugar industry has said it is unable to support the new agreement, but we remain hopeful that further progress can be made during the drafting process,” said the Secretary of Commerce of the United States, Wilbur Ross, in a press conference held in Washington.

He declared that Mexico agreed to increase enforcement measures so that in case of infringement of the accord there will be “significant penalties,” including reducing the amount of sugar to be exported in double the amount sent under unfair conditions, which could reach up to three times the amount that violates the agreement.

Ross said that as part of the pact, the minimum prices to which the Mexican sugar can enter the US market rose from 22.25 cents per pound to 23 cents for raw sugar, meaning, of 99.2% polarity, while refined sugar will rise from 26 cents to 28 cents per pound, that of 99.5% polarity.

He added that the sugar agreement of December 2014 included that 53% of sugar would be refined but it will reduce to 30%; while the export percentage of raw sugar will be increased from 47% to 70%.

For the Mexican Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal, "the most important thing is that access to the sugar market is maintained in the same terms as in 2014, it changes in terms of polarity and the quantity of refined and raw sugar that will go from 40% refined and 60% raw to 30% (refined) and 70% (raw). "

The accord, said the Mexican official, shows that "agreements can be reached between the two countries" and this opens the way to further negotiations in order to change the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


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