Mexico restores import tariffs on white corn and sorghum

MEXICO CITY Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:57pm EST

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MEXICO CITY Dec 13 (Reuters) - Mexico will re-impose tariffs on white corn imports eliminated in 2008 in the midst of a world food crisis, as well as well as on sorghum, the Secretary of Agriculture said on Friday.

Imports of white corn will have a 20 percent tariff, well below the 194 percent rate charged before 2008.

A 15 percent levy will be applied to sorghum, which will favor producers located in Mexico's Northeast and central regions.

The sorghum tariff was removed in 2012.

Imports of yellow corn, which reach about 10 million tons each year, mostly from the United States, will remain exempt.

In 2008, Mexico removed tariffs from certain grains and other agricultural products as availability dipped and prices rose due to greater demand from developing countries such as China and an increase in biofuel production.

Imports from South Africa of white corn, used for making tortillas, a staple in the Mexican diet, surged after the tariff was removed, reaching a peak of 991,000 tons in 2012.

Mexico also exports white corn, principally to Venezuela but also to the United States, Costa Rica and most recently to Guatemala.

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