The China-U.S. trade tiff is making most of the headlines, and other targets of Trump’s tariffs have announced a slew of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods. Europe, collectively, and China are our largest trading partners, but the other two NAFTA members, Canada and Mexico, are at the very top, too—third and fourth, by government estimates on the exchange of goods.
Sweetener market watchers believe that the sugar trade with Mexico, currently regulated by NAFTA and the modified Suspension Agreements, is relatively insulated from these trade spats, at least for now. Within Mexico, groups such as those representing cane growers have proposed tariffs on its imports of both high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS-55) and more recently sugar, but the country’s sugar mill groups are not among those who are at least making a show of criticizing those imports.
U.S. imports of Mexican sugar were slow for the first four months of the year, significantly lagging last year’s shipment rate, but they accelerated in April and May. Given that Mexico’s sugar stocks seem comfortable, and its exports to the world market have been stagnant, the estimated 1.15 million metric tons for U.S. imports of Mexican sugar should be reachable if shipments in the last four months of the marketing year track last year’s pace.
Cumulative U.S. imports of Mexican sugar
Source: USITC, USDA, McKeany-Flavell
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