Mexico remains significant supplier of U.S. sugar despite limits imposed on Mexican sugar imports

This is a bar graph showing the U.S. sugar imports from Mexico and a line graph showing Mexico's share of total imports from 1988/1989 to 2020/2021.

Before 2008, Mexico provided a negligible share of U.S. sugar imports but has since become the largest supplier. Mexico’s increasing contribution to the U.S. sugar supply comes despite a limit imposed on the country’s exports to the United States under the terms of suspension agreements negotiated with the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2014. Until 1993, U.S. sugar imports from Mexico were limited to small shares allocated under World Trade Organization sugar quotas for the United States. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented, and sugar duties were phased out during a 15-year period in which additional Mexican sugar was periodically imported. In July 2006, the United States and Mexico negotiated additional import quotas, and in 2008, sugar trade between the two countries became duty and quota-free. This arrangement remains in place under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that replaced NAFTA in 2020. From 2008 to 2013, with no duties or quotas, Mexico’s share of total U.S. imports grew sharply and peaked at 64 percent in 2013. In 2014, after the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that sugar imported from Mexico injured the domestic sugar industry, the United States and Mexico negotiated agreements that suspended U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties that would have been applied to Mexican sugar. The agreements provide for minimum prices in addition to quantity limits. Since then, Mexico has limited its exports to the United States to comply with the terms but remains the most significant supplier. This chart is drawn from Economic Research Service’s Sugar and Sweetener Outlook, December 2021.

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