U.S. sugar refiners want to renegotiate suspension agreements signed by Mexico and the United States in December 2014 so they can import more standard sugar, the president of Mexico’s sugar chamber, Juan Cortina, said on Wednesday.
Cortina said Mexican producers could send an extra 300,000 to 500,000 tons of standard sugar to U.S. refiners but without modifying the suspension agreements, in which the two nations established quotas and minimum sales prices.
“So far, they’ve said they aren’t receiving enough raw sugar from the Mexican mills, which is wrong and we’ve checked all the statistics,” Cortina said of the U.S. refiners. “Mexico is thoroughly complying with all the points of the agreement.”
The American Sugar Alliance was not immediately reachable for comment on the latest exchange in a spat that has simmered since the agreements were signed nearly 18 months ago.
The U.S. sugar industry in 2014 accused Mexico of dumping cheap, subsidized sugar in the heavily protected U.S. market. After the agreements were signed that December, U.S. refiners fought them, arguing they put local production and jobs at risk.
Cortina said he had taken part in meetings last week in Washington with U.S. and Mexican officials to stress that Mexico was meeting the conditions of the agreements and could supply more sugar – albeit without changing the terms of the accords.
“At the end of the day, what the U.S. refining industry wants is to turn Mexico into a provider of raw materials for its refineries,” Cortina said. “This is precisely what we’ve fought most from the start and made very clear it won’t happen.”