Coke, Cargill enter fray as sugar dispute threatens Mexico trade

6/4/2017 Reuters

coca-cola-bottles

Soda giant Coca-Cola Co and major corn syrup makers have joined the political battle against the U.S. sugar industry in recent weeks, as the deadline to hammer out a years-long trade dispute with Mexico nears.

Representatives from Coca-Cola (KO.N), corn syrup makers Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) and Cargill Inc [CARG.UL], and others met on May 10 with White House official Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance, said a number of people who attended the meeting and some of the companies involved.

They warned against potential fall-out for their industries if the United States and Mexico cannot agree to a new trade pact and avert large duties on U.S. sugar imports from Mexico. The deadline for an agreement is Monday.

For sugar buyers like Coca-Cola, a failure to come to a new agreement could disrupt supplies and drive up prices. The United States does not produce enough sugar for all its needs and relies on imports to fill the shortfall. For U.S. corn syrup makers, the escalating tensions put them under threat of a trade war with their largest foreign market.

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