A U.S. International Trade Commission ruling that Mexico dumped heavily subsidized sugar in U.S. markets is good news for sugar beet farmers in the Red River Valley, according to the state's congressional delegation and farmer groups in the state.
North Dakota is the third-leading state for sugar beets, producing about 16 percent of the nation's crop. Most of the crop is grown in the eastern Red River Valley, with a small portion in the northwestern part of the state.
The ruling means agreements to keep Mexican producers from undercutting U.S. prices remain in effect into 2019, according to the American Sugar Alliance. The group was among those that asked the commission and the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate in March 2014, saying imports subsidized by the Mexican government had cut the price of raw sugar from more than 40 cents a pound to less than 20 cents since 2011.
"This ruling will help to level the playing field for U.S. sugar and is an important step toward enforcing our trade agreements," said U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said "it's critical that we enforce our trade laws to guarantee fair sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico," and U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said "this ruling will help to level the playing field for U.S. sugar."
The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association and the two large farmer groups in the Red River Valley — American Crystal Sugar Co. and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative — all posted a statement on their websites from the American Sugar Alliance saying the ruling addresses "the unfair trade practices that were injuring American farmers, workers, and taxpayers."