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Guatemala to seek a quarter of Mexico sugar quotas

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala plans to ask the Mexican government to assign it a quarter of future sugar import quotas in a trade pact to be negotiated this month, the national sugar association Asazgua said on Friday.

Central America’s top sugar producer wants a deal similar to Nicaragua, which is automatically assigned 10 percent of any import quota Mexico opens, Mario Yarzebski, Asazgua’s director of international commerce told Reuters.

“This week and next we are talking about the negotiations with Mexico and we are asking Mexico for a formal meeting that will allow us participate in the sugar quotas like Nicaragua does, but we want a bigger percentage,” he said.

He said Guatemala would ask for 25 percent of the quotas in a meeting planned for the 21 of July.

Mexican officials were not immediately available to comment on Guatemala’s request.

Mexico announced a 150,000-tonne import quota in May — 15,000 tonnes of which is set aside for Nicaragua — and might need more during the coming harvest, which is expected to be smaller due to drought. [ID:nN17227534] [ID:nN1E75S226]

Guatemala says it will produce 2.3 million tonnes of sugar in the 2011/12 season up from the 2010/11 cycle on better weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had a slightly higher forecast for next season, that begins in November. [ID:nN12105469]

In March, the head of Asazgua said Guatemala likely produced 2 million tonnes of sugar in the 2010/11 season coming to a close now.

“We are not expecting a decline like we had last year and should return to output seen in previous years,” Yarzebski said.

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