WASHINGTON, April 11 (Reuters) - A trade group representing U.S. food and beverage makers has asked U.S. authorities not to go ahead with a proposed dumping case against the Mexican sugar industry, as a coalition of sugar cane and beet producers recently urged.
“We hereby request that the U.S. Department of Commerce decline to initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on sugar from Mexico,” the Grocery Manufacturers Association said in a filing to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker seen by Reuters.
The petition “fails to establish adequate domestic industry support” from a high enough percentage of producers, said the group, which represents U.S. food and beverage companies.
U.S. sugar producer groups led by the American Sugar Coalition have accused Mexican exporters of dumping cheap, subsidized supplies on the U.S. market, the opening shot in a potential trade war after months of growing tension in the sweetener industry.
In petitions filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department, the sweetener groups said “dumped and subsidized” imports from Mexico would cost U.S. producers nearly $1 billion in net income in 2013-14.
U.S. actions that raised the price of imported Mexican sugar would also increase input costs for GMA’s members.
“GMA members are ‘sugar’ producers as currently defined by the petitioner, and thus part of the domestic industry,” the group said in its filing.
The ITC has scheduled a preliminary conference on the case for April 18. (Reporting by Ros Krasny and Chris Prentice; Editing by David Gregorio)