No progress yet in US-Mexico sugar talks -Mexico sugar chamber

16.05.2017

No progress was made in a dispute over sugar exports between Mexico and the United States in Washington on Monday, though the latest round of talks will continue, the head of Mexico's sugar chamber said.

Mexico and the United States previously set a June 5 deadline for ending an impasse over bilateral sugar trade that threatens to trigger tit-for-tat duties.

The U.S. sugar industry pressed the U.S. Commerce Department  late last year to withdraw from a 2014 trade agreement that sets prices and quotas for U.S. imports of Mexican sugar unless the deal could be renegotiated.

"There's no deal yet," sugar chamber head Juan Cortina, who took part in the talks, told Reuters, saying "no" when asked if progress was made in any area.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and U.S. Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross agreed to continue "open dialogue" over the coming days, Mexico's economy ministry said in a statement.

The sugar talks are being closely watched as the two nations prepare for even more complex negotiations over the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to ditch if he cannot secure better terms for Americans.

The United States is looking to sharply reduce the amount of refined sugar that Mexico sends over the border, Reuters sources have said. The current agreement caps Mexico exports of refined sugar at 53 percent of total sugar exports to the United States; the proposal would slash that to just 15 percent. Raw sugar would make up the remainder.

Guajardo told Ross that it was important to find a solution that maintains the balance of sweeteners in both markets, according to the ministry. Mexico's agriculture minister has said that Mexico would be willing to react in-kind to any U.S. duties imposed on its sugar.


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