The U.S. Commerce Department agreed with Mexico to reduce anti-dumping duties. Under the agreement, shipments of Mexican cement into the United States may reach 3 million tons annually, an increase from 1.6 million tons in 2004. Shipments could increase an additional 200,000 tons if a natural disaster warrants additional supplies. The quotas in the 2nd and 3rd year will be increased or decreased by the percent change in the consumption of cement for the most recent 12-month period, with a maximum of 4.5% either way.

The agreement would end in 2009, removing all penalty tariffs at that time if the Mexican government fulfills its commitment to open the Mexican market to greater foreign supplies of cement, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. Commerce Department ruled in 1990 that cement from Mexico was being sold in the United States at unfairly low prices.

According to the new agreement, however, duties imposed on Mexican cement shipments would fall from $26 per ton to $3 per ton. The relief on duties comes at a time when U.S. demand for cement is expected to rise significantly. (Source: The Associated Press)