As reported in the March 10 edition of the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC) Data Digest, the United States and Mexico have signed an agreement to phase out the 16-year-old anti-dumping duty on Mexican cement. The AGC reports that beginning April 3, the current duty ($26 per metric ton) will fall to $3, but imports from Mexico will be limited to 3 million metric tons, to be further allocated by region. These conditions will apply for three years. As of April 1, 2009, Mexican cement, like cement from other countries, will be allowed into this country without duty or limit. To encourage more sources of supply, the agreement directs Mexico to reserve at least 6 percent of its export limit for new exporters.

"AGC had pressed for an end to the duty and asked for flexibility when it became clear quotas would be part of the package, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. "The final deal allows for an upward adjustment in years two and three, carryovers and carrybacks by each region, and an extra 200,000 metric tons if there is increased U.S. demand for cement in connection with a declaration of a state of emergency as the result of a disaster."