The Big Candy lobby and others who want to outsource U.S. sugar production and U.S. sugar jobs have criticized U.S. sugar policy for harming the “free market.”
Sugar critics base this talking point on people’s uninformed assumptions that the U.S. market is closed and that a global free market actually exists. But is American sugar really an impediment to free-market forces?
The United States is the world’s second biggest importer of sugar, making it among the most open sugar markets on the planet, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All told, we import about 30% of our needs and are among the only major sugar-producing countries to import significant amounts of sugar.
Wide-open markets are a rarity around the globe because the world sugar market is so unstable anddistorted by subsidies. In fact, the futures market for raw sugar has been mathematically the most volatile commodity market in the world, with prices moving between 3 cents per pound and 57 cents.
Currently, prices in this dump market average barely half the average cost of producing sugar.
However, there is a free-market solution on the table to eradicate foreign subsidies and help bring price back in line with production costs.
Congressman Ted Yoho’s (R-FL) Zero-for-Zero sugar policy would roll back U.S. sugar policy if other countries eliminate their subsidies and let a true free market form. But Big Candy is fighting this proposal, proving that subsidized foreign sugar, not a free market, is their main objective.
The bottom line: Big Candy is complaining for the sake of complaining. U.S. sugar policy is working as Congress intended, and the 2014 Farm Bill should not be re-opened during the Appropriations process to gut it.
Vote no on all anti-sugar amendments during the appropriations process.