A Not So Sweet Deal? U.S., Mexico Sugar Relations

June 7, 2017 01:25 PM

Let's face it. For most of us, sugar policy means choosing between white, pink, blue or yellow packets.  Maybe that's why a new U.S.-Mexico sugar agreement isn't getting as much attention as it should.  

The deal itself is getting mixed reviews which is probably a good sign. U.S. sugar refiners and growers aren't supporting the deal but corn refiners are. The U.S. needs to import sugar because our demand is greater than supply.

The U.S. sugar industry wants imported sugar to be raw to keep our refineries busy. The U.S. sugar refining industry wanted 85% of sugar from Mexico to be raw, but the deal calls for 70%.

Corn refiners are happy not to lose a key export market. While details are being worked out the bigger story is that despite heated rhetoric between the two countries over immigration, trade and a wall, the two sides were able to sit down and make a deal.

That's a good sign as we head to renegotiation of NAFTA. The issues then will be bigger and more complex and include Canada but hopefully this deal creates positive momentum when negotiators sit down across from each other later this summer.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue tried to do something similar in recent talks with his Canadian counterparts. Trump administration critics will scoff but this deal gives hope to those nervous about upcoming trade talks.

 As we get ready for the main course at least they have already passed the sugar.

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