U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is likely to impose a new sugar trade deal with Mexico even if final revisions to it fail to win support from the U.S. industry, trade lawyers and experts say.
After announcing a deal this week that would dramatically cut the amount of refined sugar that Mexico ships to the United States, officials from the two countries are working with their industries on final language that would govern its operation.
At issue is a new right of first refusal granted to Mexico to supply all U.S. sugar needs not met by domestic suppliers or other foreign quota holders.
A coalition of American sugar cane and beet farmers and a major refiner want a more explicit guarantee that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not Mexican producers, will dictate what type of sugar fills that gap. They are worried that a flood of refined sugar will pour in, rather than the raw sugar needed to keep U.S. mills running.