The U.S. Senate released a letter that echoes the concerns expressed by the Independent Bakers Association (IBA) of possible negotiations for a managed trade agreement on Mexican sugar, according to the Washington-based association. American sugar producers filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions against Mexican sugar with claims that the import caused substantial injury to the domestic sugar market. Senators from both sides of the aisle caution the U.S. Commerce Department and Agriculture Department from considering such an agreement.

“It's good to see that some of our elected officials are taking action to support sugar-using businesses,” IBA chairman Ron Cardey said in a press release. “The injury is to the baking industry. Even when sugar was $0.06 per pound, we still could not get our hands on it.”

IBA President Nick Pyle added, “I think the domestic sugar industry is the most protected commodity. To claim injury by minimal free trade of a highly demanded product is ridiculous.”

Potential damages from a managed trade agreement include higher costs for U.S. manufacturers and American consumers, disruption of other trade arrangements and significant interruption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) state in the letter, which was co-signed by several Democratic and Republican senators.

The letter concluded with a warning to the departments, “We urge you to consider that the introduction of an open market in sweeteners between the United States and Mexico was no accident. It was carefully negotiated and implemented over 15 years as an integral part of our nation’s most financially significant trade agreement.” The letter is available online.

Members of the House of Representatives are expected to submit a similar letter to the Commerce Department and Agriculture Department.

Source: Independent Bakers Association