American Sugar Alliance Responds to Inaccuracies in GAO Sugar Report

“GAO continues to make major and obvious errors in their analysis of sugar policy and markets in the United States and in other countries to the detriment of American farm families and workers. We urge Congress to consider the facts, including that global sugar costs of production have routinely exceeded global sugar prices over the past 20 years, clearly evidencing a world sugar market distorted by heavily subsidized foreign sugar. Instead of relying on GAO’s flawed analysis that overlooks common sense and relies on an institutional bias against any policy that helps U.S. farm and ranch families of any commodity,” said Rob Johansson, Director of Economics and Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance.

“It is also unfortunate that GAO’s report ignores the economic contributions of domestic sugar production to local communities, including more than 151,000 jobs and more than $23 billion in economic activity, as well as the serious harm done to these communities due to foreign subsidies that profoundly distort the global market and harm U.S. farm families. GAO continues to utilize old studies and estimates that have been discredited. More recent economic studies conclusively demonstrate that any savings from cheaper sugar to the big multinational corporations that buy and use sugar in their products are not passed to American consumers.  Instead, they add to the record profits of the users.”

When interviewed by GAO, the American Sugar Alliance pointed out the benefits provided by current U.S. sugar policy.

  •          The policy ensures a reliable and sustainable supply of sugar to American households and food companies that is delivered just-in-time to customers in the form that they need it. The strong and resilient U.S. sugar supply chain allows food companies to run their factories without pause or huge storage facilities, saving them hundreds of millions each year.
  •          The policy levels the playing field for American sugarbeet and sugarcane farmers and sugar factory workers who face unfair competition resulting from the distorted world sugar market.
  •          The policy supports American sugarbeet and sugarcane farmers, allowing them to continually increase productivity and to meet some of the highest labor and environmental standards in the world.
  •          The policy benefits U.S. consumers and food manufacturers by addressing an increasingly unstable and unpredictable global market, where other sugar-producing countries are restricting exports in order to protect their own consumers from food insecurity.
  •          The policy is designed to cost taxpayers $0. USDA and FAPRI show that over the next ten years, the program is expected to cost $0.  It has cost $0 over the past ten years.

U.S. sugar policy is supported by a large coalition of agricultural and stakeholder groups across America.

ASA remains committed to engaging in thoughtful discussions to ensure a well-informed approach to the future of the sugar industry, safeguarding both consumer interests and the vitality of American agriculture.