Sugar Talks With U.S. Advancing, Mexico’s Trade Chief Says

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By Emily Pickrell

Mexico and the U.S. could reach a deal in the next two weeks on sugar exports to the U.S. market, Mexico Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said May 16 at a news conference in Puerto Vallarta.

Guajardo met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington on May 15 and discussed how to replace a current sugar suspension agreement that limits the amount of sugar Mexico may export.

Prior discussions in April had ended in a stalemate, but Guajardo said the two sides will be moving forward and will meet a June 5 deadline to come to agreement. “We are advancing in the process,” Guajardo said, according to a tape provided by the Economy Ministry.

“We believe that if we continue on the same path, we should be able to come to an agreement that would help us to close the differences on the talks in the next two weeks.”

NAFTA Redo

Mexico is also preparing for an official notification from the U.S. that would begin the process for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Guajardo said, explaining that they are prepared to analyze the proposed terms. The U.S. is set to notify Congress about NAFTA renegotiations early next week, he said.

Energy is likely to be part of the discussions, Guajardo added. “The energy sector is one of the areas that has changed the most since the last negotiations,” he said. “This will probably be reflected in our negotiations.”

He added that he will be meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer May 18 in Vietnam, and was set to speak with him by phone May 16.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray will travel to Washington May 18 with Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to meet with their U.S. counterparts, Videgaray said May 12. They plan to continue discussions on trade, security and immigration, he said.

With assistance from Nacha Cattan.

To contact the reporter for this story: Emily Pickrell in Mexico City at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at jashton@bna.com

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