The United States and Mexico Tuesday agreed to end a dispute regarding the trade of sugar ahead of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA talks are expected to begin in August, and experts say the sugar agreement shows promise regarding the NAFTA efforts. Under the agreement, Mexico will cut its refined sugar exports to the United States from 53 percent to 30 percent. The deal is designed for Mexico to avoid the imposition of punitive tariffs due to a finding by the U.S. government that Mexico had sent the United States subsidized sugar, and that the sugar was sold at dumped prices, according to the Hagstrom Report. U.S. Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight called the agreement an important milestone as the Grains Council works to “maintain our existing, robust trade of U.S. grains and related products” ahead of the NAFTA talks. Former chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, Daniel Pearson, told Reuters if the negotiations “had melted down, the NAFTA conversation would have been more difficult.” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the agreement “sets an important tone of good faith” leading up to NAFTA renegotiations.
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