February 8, 2008
As established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), on January 1, 2008 all duties and other trade barriers in the US-Mexico sweeteners sector were completely eliminated. The government of Mexico sees this as a valuable instrument to take advantage of business opportunities generated by an unrestricted access of Mexican sugar to the US market.
In this context, sugar producers of both Mexico and the US have presented a series of recommendations to their governments regarding bilateral trade in sweeteners. Among them, are the following points:
· better data and information exchange;
· close coordination on some aspects of each country’s sugar policy, and;
· maintaining a permanent communication channel among governments.
The Mexican Government considers that the above proposals are positive and that they should be addressed through the existing instances under NAFTA, such as the Consultative Committee on Agriculture and the communication and consultation mechanisms provided under the Agreement. These tools give us the possibility to discuss in an expedited manner any situation that might arise on the bilateral sweeteners’ trade.
Notwithstanding, sugar producers also proposed the establishment of mechanisms to limit Mexican sugar exports to the US market. This proposal would imply a modification of the obligations acquired by our governments under NAFTA.
The Government of Mexico emphasizes its decision to support free trade in the sweetener sector as established under NAFTA, and therefore, will oppose any recommendation implying a reopening of the Agreement.
NAFTA provisions represent a delicate balance of rights and responsibilities for both countries. Any modification would jeopardize the benefits derived from the rest of the Agreement.
Moreover, this being a sector in which both governments agreed on a series of elements beyond the elimination of duties, such as the establishment of an equal tariff for imports coming from third countries, Mexico and the US must continue working towards deepening market integration towards an eventual common sugar market.
The government of Mexico , as stated in the past, continues to be open to a dialogue with its domestic sugar producers on any sweetener bilateral trade aspect that may need to be addressed.