Amendments to sugar deal ease industry concerns

The U.S. Department of Commerce has released new draft sugar agreements approved by the U.S. and Mexico which address loopholes found in the principle agreement on June 6th.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement between the two countries needs to be enforced and in the U.S. that will be USDA’s responsibility.  “The polarity over additional sugar—which the USDA gets to set—we’re going to be very mindful of our sugar industry here with sugarbeets as well as the cane producers and make sure we don’t harm our U.S. sugar industry.”

The amendments increase raw sugar import limits from Mexico to 70 percent, change the balance of raw and refined sugar allowed, reduce the timeline Mexico is allowed to ship refined sugar into the U.S. and increase minimum sugar prices.

Details of the deal are open to public comment with the Department of Commerce expected to make final amendments at the end of the month.

The American Sugar Alliance is in favor of the tightened agreement. Phillip Hays with the organization says the updates alleviate industry concerns and should return the market to a level playing field as well as protect U.S. jobs from unfair Mexican trade.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway of Texas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota released a statement after the announcement saying they expect USDA to be strict on the enforcement of the new agreements and eliminate unfair trading practices.

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