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U.S., Mexico to Scrap Sugar Duties
From the Wall Street Journal of Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:43:36 EST
 A new agreement will limit the amount of sugar Mexico can send the U.S.
A new agreement will limit the amount of sugar Mexico can send the U.S. Bloomberg News

NEW YORK—The U.S. and Mexico have struck a deal to scrap tariffs on imports of Mexican sugar, ending a trade dispute that rattled candy-makers over higher costs for their key ingredient.

The U.S. will suspend duties on Mexican sugar that were implemented earlier this year, and establish minimum prices “to guard against undercutting or suppression of U.S. prices,” the U.S. Commerce Department said in a statement late Friday.

The deal could help narrow the gap between sugar in the U.S. and the global market, where the sweetener is cheaper.

But the agreement also includes measures to limit the amount of sugar Mexico can send to the U.S., through export limits, drawing criticism from one food-industry group.

Unlike other sugar-producing countries like Thailand and Brazil, an unlimited amount of Mexican sugar had been able to enter the U.S. duty free under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“With the stroke of a pen, these agreements dismantle the unrestricted free trade of sugar between the U.S. and Mexico since 2008 and undermine the core principles of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” said the Sweetener Users Association, which represents sugar-using companies, in a statement. “While sugar is but one commodity traded between our two countries, these suspension agreements set a horrible precedent by undoing trade flows that have been established over two decades after Nafta was first negotiated.”

In August, the government imposed preliminary tariffs on Mexican sugar imports following complaints by U.S. sugar growers, who had said that Mexican subsidies for its sugar industry allowed producers to flood the U.S. market with inexpensive supply, undermining American growers. Additional tariffs were announced in October.

The U.S. is the world’s fourth-largest sugar consumer and relies on imports—most of which come from Mexico—for about 25% of its supply.

Write to Leslie Josephs at

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