The United States and Mexico have signed an agreement to end a 16-year dispute involving the cement trade.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Trade Representative Rob Portman and Mexican Economy Secretary Sergio Garcia de Alba signed the deal Monday in Washington.

Gutierrez said in a statement the agreement addresses the concerns of producers and consumers on both sides of the border and ensures that U.S. Gulf Coast communities will have the resources to rebuild. 

The Commerce Department ruled in 1990 that Mexican cement was being sold in the United States at unfairly low prices - a practice known as dumping.  The United States imposed high tariffs on the cement, prompting Mexico to challenge the prices at the World Trade Organization.

The new agreement will allow Mexico to export up to three million metric tons of cement to the United States at a duty rate of three dollars per ton.  The current rate is more than $26 per ton.

The deal also provides for an additional 200,000 metric tons of cement from Mexico if a disaster, like hurricane Katrina, occurs and the United States determines more cement is needed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.