Justice Department Asks for Stay in Sugar Decision

Late last week, the U.S. Justice Department filed a motion requesting a 90-day stay in the Court of International Trade’s ruling that an amended Mexico-U.S. trade agreement wasn’t valid. The Hagstrom Report says an agreement on Mexican sugar imports to the U.S. was amended in 2017. However, the court said that the amended agreement wasn’t valid because the Commerce Department didn’t release all the notes of meetings held during the negotiations. The American Sugar Alliance says U.S. sugar producers, as well as Mexico’s sugar industry and government officials, support the U.S. request for a stay. Phillip Hayes, an ASA spokesman, says, “This 90-day stay is necessary to ensure that everyone has enough time to file comments with the Department of Commerce on the suspension agreements, as well as gives the Commerce Department time to follow proper procedure during the process.” Hayes points out that it’s important to remember the court didn’t comment on the merits of the amendments and was instead based purely on record-keeping procedures by the Department of Commerce. “Mexico’s government and sugar industry have both asked the U.S. government to reinstate the suspension agreements without change, something U.S. producers support,” Hayes adds. The Commerce Department has now published the suspension agreements without change and is looking for comments from interested parties.