(Adds details on previous proposals, comment from Washington-based source)
WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday extended the deadline for sugar trade negotiations between the United States and Mexico by 24 hours, saying extra time was needed to complete “final technical consultations” for a deal.
“The two sides have come together in quite meaningful ways, but there remain a few technical details to work out,” Ross said in a statement as time was running out on a Monday deadline. “We are quite optimistic that our two nations are on the precipice of an agreement we can all support, and so have decided that a short extension of the deadline is in everyone’s best interest.”
The delay was announced after Mexican sources said the two governments had reached a proposed agreement that would avert steep U.S. duties by constraining imports of Mexican sugar. But one of the sources said members of the U.S. sugar industry were not happy with the proposal and were pressuring the Trump administration to scrap it.
A deal would end more than a year of wrangling over sugar between the two countries and avert threats of Mexican retaliation against U.S. high-fructose corn syrup that would sour trade relations ahead of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Ross did not provide details of the issues yet to be resolved in his statement.
A Washington-based source familiar with the negotiations said that the two sides had “come together” on the four largest issues separating the U.S. and Mexican sugar industries, but some technical details still needed to be worked out. The person declined to elaborate. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Paul Simao and Lisa Shumaker)