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D.O.C. finds issues with U.S./Mexico sugar deal

The U.S. Department of Commerce in preliminary findings from a review of the 2014 anti-dumping and countervailing duty suspension agreements involving exports of sugar from Mexico to the United States released Nov. 29, indicated some transactions may be out of compliance with the agreement, among other issues.

“Based on current record of this review, there is some indication that certain individual transactions of subject merchandise may not be in compliance with the (AD and CVD Agreements), and further, that the (Agreements) may no longer be meeting all of the statutory requirements,” the D.O.C. said.

“However, based on the Department’s review to date of the record information, we do not yet find a sufficient basis to make a reliable judgment as to whether the Government of Mexico and the Mexican respondent mills have adhered to the terms of the (Agreements) and whether the (Agreements) continue to meet the relevant requirements of the Act for such agreements.”

Thus, the D.O.C. on Nov. 18 sought additional information from the Government of Mexico (GOM) and two selected mill respondents, Central Motzorongo S.A. de C.V. and Fideicomiso Ingenio San Cristobal, and asked the GOM to forward a limited questionnaire to all Mexico sugar producers and exporters that had been issued export license from the government.

Pending receipt of the additional information, the D.O.C. will issue post-preliminary results “as soon as practicable,” after which there will be a public comment period within 30 days. The final review is due within 120 days of publication in the Federal Register.

Further, the D.O.C. said, “In this review, the Department is reassessing whether suspension of the (Agreements are) in the ‘public interest,’ including the availability of supplies of sugar in the U.S. market, and whether ‘effective monitoring’ is practicable.”

American Sugar Alliance spokesman Phillip Hayes, said, “The American Sugar Alliance welcomes the Department of Commerce’s preliminary decisions in the administrative reviews of the agreements suspending the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of sugar from Mexico. They confirm that both the antidumping and countervailing duty agreements are not working.”

The review was requested by some U.S. sugar companies, who also have requested the five-year trade agreements be ended.  Most in the trade expect the agreements will exist in some form.

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