It has been about one week since the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) launched a formal investigation into the unfair trading practices of Mexico’s sugar industry, noting strong evidence of significant dumping and actionable subsidies.
Yet, a group of lobbyists from the candy, corn refining, and Mexican sugar industries are angling to influence what is supposed to be an independent, quasi-judicial government investigation. In fact, these industries are holding a joint media briefing today to attack the antidumping and subsidy petitions pending against Mexico.
“It’s troubling these groups are trying to impede the process of enforcing U.S. trade laws,” said Phillip Hayes, a spokesperson for the American Sugar Alliance. “And it’s ironic since every one of these industries has turned to these same laws in the past.”
- One of the candy industry’s biggest companies, Hershey Foods, has used antidumping, countervailing duty laws for nearly two decades to impose duties on unfairly traded pasta products from Italy and Turkey. Other large food manufacturers, Borden Inc. and Gooch Foods, joined Hershey in that suit.
- Three of America’s biggest corn refiners – ADM, Cargill, and Tate & Lyle – filed and won an antidumping and countervailing duty case against China in 2008.
- And, the Mexican sugar industry used Mexico’s antidumping law to impose duties on U.S. High Fructose Corn Syrup from 1998 to 2002.
Of course, these industries aren’t alone. Since NAFTA’s implementation, the trade deal’s participants have brought 114 cases against one another, including the DOC’s recently announced preliminary ruling against Mexico for dumping steel rebar on the U.S. market.
In agriculture alone, U.S. interests have filed more than 30 cases over the past 20 years to keep dumping and/or subsidies by global trading partners from harming their industries.
“It is obvious that neither confectioners nor corn refiners would stand by and let a foreign competitor run them out of business through unfair trading practices,” Hayes concluded. “And we would never expect any U.S. business to. The fact that that these groups won’t afford us the same consideration of the rule of law is unfortunate.”
Hayes said the process is now in the U.S. government’s impartial hands and it will use hard data and U.S. law to decide if corrective measures are needed.