Speaking during a visit to Washington, Guajardo said he was optimistic of agreeing a negotiated settlement whereby Mexico would agree to limit exports at a level which would satisfy its cane growers without inundating the U.S. market.
“If that range comes up as a possibility in the following days, I think we will get an agreement,” he told reporters.
“We want to find a solution where everybody wins.”
Guajardo said retaliation would escalate the complaint filed by U.S. sugar producers against their Mexican colleagues earlier this year into an all-out fight where “everybody is going to lose.”
Still, Mexico had several weapons at its disposal, including a case before the World Trade Organization, and would take some kind of action if a settlement could not be reached, he said.
“I do trust the intelligence of the parties in both that at the end of the day we can come out with an agreement that we can live with on both sides,” Guajardo said
The U.S. Department of Commerce has recommended preliminary anti-subsidy duties of up to 17.01 percent on Mexican imports and is due to make a decision on anti-dumping duties on Oct. 24.
But duties could be suspended if the parties can reach an agreement to cap exports, which are currently unlimited, at a certain level.
The head of Mexico’s government-owned mills has said Mexico would be open to a settlement which set an export minimum of between 1.1 million and 1.3 million tonnes.
The American Sugar Alliance (ASA), which represents U.S. sugar farmers and processors, complained cheap, subsidized sugar was flooding the U.S. market, which is heavily protected.
Duties would mean companies like sweets and food makers Hershey Co, Mondelez International Inc, General Mills Inc and drinks makers such as Coca Cola Co would have to pay extra for imported Mexican sugar, possibly pushing up prices. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrew Hay)