Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s Economy Minister, arrives in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss whether Mexico will finally comply with U.S. trade laws when it comes to sugar trade. They have until June 5, when the U.S. Department of Commerce has promised to impose 80 percent duties to stop the injury caused by Mexico’s dumped and subsidized sugar.
In anticipation of this week’s meetings, we thought it might be worthwhile to revisit what Guajardo said on the exact same topic in May 2014 during a taped interview with Reuters.
“We do understand that last year wasn’t typical. Exports of sugar to the U.S. were over 2 million tons, which is definitely, completely out of the normal exports.”
Translation: Mexico flooded the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized sugar.
“And the idea is to really make some commitments to guarantee the existence of the U.S. sugar program. I mean, somehow, the production last year was threatening the existence of the program itself.”
Translation: Mexico’s unfair shipments injured U.S. sugar producers and made it impossible for the USDA to operate America’s Congressionally mandated no-cost sugar policy.
“So, we need to work out ways in which we will not lose, or be prevented access, to the U.S. market…”
Translation: Even though Mexico got caught violating America’s antidumping, countervailing duty laws, they don’t want to be punished and want to keep dumping lots of subsidized sugar.
“…but at the same time to … manage our exports, quite probably, in terms of avoiding the overflowing of the U.S. market.”
Translation: Perhaps a deal can be worked out where America won’t punish Mexico for breaking the law and, in return, Mexico will stop wrecking the U.S. sugar market.
But exactly three years later, little has changed.
Dumped and subsidized sugar from Mexico is still injuring U.S. producers. And Mexico has yet to be held accountable for its unfair trade actions.
Hawaii even shut down its century-old sugar industry in December because of the market disruption caused by Mexico.
Hopefully this week’s talks will move in the right direction and towards suspension agreements that finally stop the injury caused by Mexico. If not, Mexico should expect antidumping and countervailing duties, as required by U.S. law.
Too bad Mexico’s current stance appears to be blackmailing U.S. officials with threats of blocking lawful U.S. exports unless it can continue to unlawfully dump its subsidized sugar.