U.S., Mexico announce cement accord

The United States and Mexico announced in January that a duty on Mexican cement shipped to the U.S. will likely be dramatically lowered and, in three years, eliminated.

Under the agreement, imports from Mexico would be capped at 3 million metric tons per year and be subject to a duty of $3 per metric ton, a significant drop from the $26 duty now in effect. The deal provides for the institution of a provision to import an additional 200,000 metric tons in the event of a natural disaster. All limits would be removed in 2009 if both sides abide by the agreement, which includes a commitment by the Mexican government to open that country’s market to foreign cement suppliers.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) welcomed the news. “Last year, 32 states experienced cement shortages,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO, in an AGC news release. “The strong outlook for highway and building construction in 2006 means this year’s shortages could be even more severe and widespread. It is essential to allow cement in from ‘next door’ on the same terms that we now import it from China, Thailand, and other more distant locations.”

More about the AGC can be found at www.agc.org.

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