U.S. opens probe of imports of Mexican sugar

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal Commerce Department is investigating allegations that Mexico has been dumping sugar on the U.S. market.

The American Sugar Alliance and other groups asked for the investigation in March, saying imports of sugar subsidized by the Mexican government have cut the price of raw sugar in half since 2011.

Alliance spokesman Phillip Hayes says the price was above 40 cents a pound for the 2011 crop year, but fell to less than 20 cents per pound last year.

The Commerce Department announced its decision Friday, saying sugar imports from Mexico grew from 1.4 million metric tons in 2011 to nearly 2.1 million metric tons last year. The sugar alliance says that was a record — and imports from Mexico this year are on a pace to break it.