Negotiations between Mexico and the United States over antidumping duties for cement appeared slow on Thursday, with both sides still far from reaching agreement, a Mexican official said. Ricardo Ramirez, a senior Mexican official involved in the negotiations, called the pace of discussions "complicated ... We’re still talking, but positions remain far apart." Mexico wants the United States to drop 15-year-old anti-dumping duties on Mexican cement, particularly following Hurricane Katrina, which greatly damaged New Orleans and other US Gulf cities, boosting demand for the product.
Trade representatives from both countries met in mid-September as Mexico looked for a deal to allow it to export more cement to the United States, but negotiations were fruitless. "We want to eliminate the tariff at some point, but we have not reached and agreement," Ramirez added.
Antidumping tariffs have been in effect since 1990, following a suit filed by US producers against Mexican cement makers. But US construction companies, mostly from Washington, Texas and Florida, have recently complained about poor supplies of cement. Experts had hoped the devastating effects of Katrina would speed up negotiations.