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Groups urge Congress to reject sugar growers' agreement on U.S.-Mexico trade.

In letters to all members of Congress, a coalition of 38 commodity and agribusiness groups urges rejection of an agreement between sugar growers in the U.S. and Mexico that would "manage" trade in sugar between the two nations. "This proposal has broad-based and severe implications for the U.S. food and agricultural sector. We do not support managed trade with Mexico and urge that it not be included in the farm bill or any other legislation," says the letter.

The coalition predicts that adopting managed trade with Mexico would effectively amend the free trade provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement by instituting export and import restraints. Moreover, says the letter, "this managed trade proposal contains other international trade violations that could subject the U.S. to challenge and unravel the free trade opportunities that the U.S. agricultural sector worked so hard to achieve."

Earlier in the week, The Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT), along with 15 other major business groups, wrote to the congressional leadership and key Bush administration officials, warning that adoption of the sugar industry's proposals on sweetener trade would harm U.S. exports.

"By seeking to rewrite the negotiated commitments of NAFTA by substantially restricting sugar trade, this privately concocted arrangement will undermine the foundation upon which trade agreements are built," the letter said. "If implemented, this arrangement will hurt U.S. credibility in every ongoing trade negotiation, and any possible future trade negotiation," it adds. "Our trading partners will be reluctant to enter into agreements, if they see the U.S. Congress passing legislation that invalidates key provisions of one of our most important trade agreements."
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Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Date:Feb 11, 2008
Words:275
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