Dumped Mexican sugar harming U.S. producers, ITC finds

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 - The U.S. International Trade Commission is siding with U.S. sugar producers who claim they've been harmed by subsidized sweetener from Mexico that is being dumped on U.S. markets at less than fair value.

“The ITC made the right decision today and validated our complaints,” Phillip Hayes, a spokesperson for the American Sugar Alliance, said in a statement.  “Mexico's actions have harmed hardworking sugar producers as well as taxpayers. U.S. trade laws are designed to stop such injury, and we hope corrective actions will be taken soon before the situation deteriorates.”

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U.S. sugar producers filed petitions seeking antidumping and countervailing duties in March, alleging that Mexico's actions will cost the industry $1 billion this year. The producers also charged that U.S. government had to come up with $287 million in fiscal year 2013 to keep the market from collapsing as a flood of Mexican imports drove down prices.

The ITC vote, which was 5 to 0 with one commissioner not participating, follows an April 18 announcement by the Department of Commerce (DOC) that it will investigate Mexico's sugar industry. Commerce will make a preliminary ruling about Mexican subsidies and dumping later this summer, the ITC said. Final rulings by DOC and ITC may not occur until 2015.

In its release, the Sugar Alliance noted that American sugar policy, which is designed to help keep the U.S. market in balance, ran without any taxpayer cost for the 10 years prior to the acceleration of disputed imports from Mexico. It also pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office predicts the government may have to pay out $390 million through fiscal year 2024 due to what it calls “an oversupplied sugar market plagued by low prices.”

“It is clear that the U.S. government recognizes that there is a problem, and we believe the independent government process should proceed expeditiously without interruption,” Hayes said. 

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