Grassley Warns Against Fallout from U.S.-Mexico Sugar Dispute
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a former chairman and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, urged the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce to ensure that the consequences of the multi-year U.S.-Mexico sugar dispute are contained to sugar and do not affect other U.S. trade interests, such as corn or high fructose corn syrup.
Recent negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico reached an impasse, and the U.S. government notified the Mexican government of its intention to resume the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties on sugar imports unless an agreement could be reached by June 5, 2017. The resumption of such duties could result in the Mexican government’s imposing retaliatory duties on other U.S. trade interests.
“The U.S. corn refining industry supports nearly 260,000 jobs, many of which could be jeopardized by the loss of market access to Mexico,” Grassley wrote. “I strongly recommend you resolve the U.S.-Mexico sugar dispute in a way that keeps all consequences and impacts contained to those directly involved in the dispute.”
As a result of NAFTA, in 2008 Mexico became the only source of unmanaged sugar with access to the U.S. market until two suspension agreements were signed by the United States and Mexico in December of 2014. The U.S. sugar program requires the federal government to manage the domestic supply of sugar using a plethora of regulatory tools that include price guarantees, marketing allotments and import quotas.
In 2013, the U.S. sugar industry filed a case against Mexico with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming Mexican sugar exports were being dumped into the U.S. market. As a result of that case and potential retaliation, two suspension agreements were signed. The current negotiations are the result of U.S. sugar producers’ claiming the suspension agreements still do not do enough to protect them from Mexican sugar.
The text of his letter follows and can also be found here.
May 1, 2017
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Secretary Ross,
I am writing to express my view that any decision you make related to the ongoing U.S.-Mexico sugar dispute not adversely affect the interests of Iowa farmers and agribusinesses.
The trade complexities of U.S. sugar policy should not be allowed to further reduce foreign market access for U.S. agricultural products. The U.S. corn refining industry supports nearly 260,000 jobs, many of which could be jeopardized by the loss of market access to Mexico.
I strongly recommend you resolve the U.S.-Mexico sugar dispute in a way that keeps all consequences and impacts contained to those directly involved in the dispute.
Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator