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U.S. trade court strikes down amendment to U.S.-Mexico sugar trade deal as unlawful

Credit: REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO

A judge with the U.S. Court of International Trade has struck down a sugar trade pact with Mexico renegotiated in 2017 by the Trump Administration, saying the decision to amend a previous deal was unlawful.

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NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - A judge with the U.S. Court of International Trade has struck down a sugar trade pact with Mexico renegotiated in 2017 by the Trump Administration, saying the decision to amend a previous deal was unlawful.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's determination to amend an agreement that suspended U.S. countervailing duties on Mexican sugar imports was unlawful, said Judge Leo M. Gordon in a court document dated Oct. 18. The judge ordered the trade deal amendment to be immediately vacated.

The decision marks a blow to the administration of President Donald Trump, which under Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had reworked a 2014 trade deal, which some U.S. sugar companies had complained had curtailed their supplies.

Trump had praised the reworked agreement on Twitter in June 2017 as "a very good one for both Mexico and the U.S."

A U.S. sugar company had challenged the 2017 amended agreement, alleging that competitors were using the trade talks to deny it access to cheap Mexican sugar imports.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's failure to maintain full records of all of its meetings cannot be described as "harmless," the judge said.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice in New York, Adriana Barrera in Mexico City and David Lawder in Washington Editing by Bernadette Baum)

((christine.prentice@thomsonreuters.com; +1(646) 223 6136; Reuters Messaging: christine.prentice.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

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