Mexican economy ministry slams U.S. decision in sugar case

MEXICO CITY Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:11pm EDT

MEXICO CITY Aug 26 (Reuters) - Mexico's Economy Ministry said on Tuesday a preliminary decision by the United States to impose anti-subsidy import duties on Mexican sugar was a setback in trade relations between the neighbors and pledged to fight the decision.

The Mexican ministry said the government would continue to defend its rights and exhaust the legal options to protect Mexico's interests under the aegis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organisation.

The U.S. Commerce Department said earlier it would impose duties on Mexican sugar imports as high as 17.01 percent.

The preliminary step to slap duties on sugar imports from Mexico, which could still be overturned, is backed by U.S. sugar industry complaints of unfair competition from subsidized sweeteners in the industry's first trade case in decades.

Mexico denies that it subsidizes the industry. (Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom)