U.S., Mexico moving closer to sugar trade deal -Mexican minister


The United States and Mexico have moved closer to a deal in talks over a prolonged sugar trade dispute, but there is no guarantee that an accord will be reached, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on  Thursday.

    "Dialogue is continuing, nobody can guarantee we have a deal in hand," Guajardo told reporters at an event in Mexico City.

"We've done a lot of work to get one, our positions have moved closer, but we can't say yet we've got it," he added.

    Last month, the Mexican and U.S. governments agreed to extend the deadline for negotiations over sugar to June 5.

    Guajardo said there had been no ultimatum from his U.S. counterpart, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and that, depending on legal interpretations, the June 5 deadline might be extended.

    The U.S. sugar industry is pressing the U.S. Commerce Department to withdraw from a 2014 trade agreement that sets prices and quotas for U.S. imports of Mexican sugar unless the deal is renegotiated.

    The ongoing spat is hanging over the upcoming start of talks between Mexico, the United States and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which underpins the bulk of commerce in the region.

    U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA unless he can rework it in favor of the United States.

    If no deal is reached, and the United States slaps duties on Mexican sugar, it could prompt Mexico to retaliate against U.S. fructose exported south of the border.

    Guajardo said he was reviewing a request made by the Mexican sugar industry to initiate an anti-dumping investigation against U.S. fructose.


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