Sweeten Farm and Trade Policy with Sugar Reform

By April 26, 2007Trade

The NAM has joined the newly created Sugar Policy Alliance, a broad coalition of industry, farm, food and consumer groups and companies who believe that current U.S. sugar policy makes food more expensive, costs jobs — thousands of manufacturing jobs included — and encourages economy-throttling protectionism. The foundation of that policy is limits on the amount of sugar that can be imported, creating artificial shortages that push up price. From the news release announcing the new alliance:

“Current sugar policy costs good jobs for American workers, hampers our export opportunities and hurts consumers while eroding American farmers’ long- term competitiveness,” said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council, a member of the Sugar Policy Alliance. Current sugar policy, which relies on government-regulated price floors, marketing quotas, and import restrictions, prevents the sugar market from operating efficiently. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the program will cost American taxpayers at least $1.3 billion over the next ten years. The economic distortion caused by the current sugar program is estimated to be as much as $1.9 billion a year by the Government Accountability Office.

Senator Richard Durbin, D-IL, is leading the effort in Congress to bring sugar reform to the next Farm Bill; Chicago-based confectionary businesses and their jobs have been killed by high-price sugar.

Sugar interests nearly blocked the Central American Free Trade Agreements (CAFTA). Thank goodness they failed. In 2006, the year after CAFTA’s enactment, U.S. exports to the four countries that had implemented CAFTA jumped 18 percent over 2005. The U.S. trade surplus was $1 billion, compared to the $1.2 deficit in 2005. (Statement from Commerce Secretary Gutierrez here.)

The International Dairy Foods Association has made a copy of the alliance’s founding statement and call for reform, signed by 75 groups and companies, available here in .pdf form.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • skh.pcola says:

    I suppose ADM and other high fructose corn syrup producers are lobbying against efforts at reforming the current sugar subsidy, since they are the primary beneficiaries of an artificially high market equilibrium price for cane sugar. And ADM is beaucoup powerful on K Street.