The US government has announced plans to put duties on sugar imports from Mexico, claiming the shipments are subsidised by the Mexican government.

Under the proposals, imports would be hit with duties ranging from 3% to 17%, the US Department of Commerce has said.

Washington announced in April it was investigating Mexican sugar imports after a petition from US industry association the American Sugar Coalition, which represents growers in the US.

According to data from the Department of Commerce, imports of sugar from Mexico were worth about US$1.1bn. The Department of Commerce will announce its final decision in January.

The American Sugar Alliance said: "The DOC's finding validates our claim that the flood of Mexican sugar, which is harming America's sugar producers and workers, is subsidised by the Mexican government."

According to Reuters, Juan Cortina, president of the Mexican sugar chamber, said the country's sugar industry is prepared to agree to a limit on exports to the US - but said an agreement would have to be at a minimum of 1m tonnes per cycle.

The Department of Commerce will issue its verdict on a second petition on dumping in October.

Officials at US industry organisations the National Confectioners Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association did not respond to requests for comment on how the proposed move could affect their members' costs.