European Union Serves as Warning to US Sugar Policy Critics

This week marks 13 years since the EU first began tearing down its sugar program after the World Trade Organization found it to be in violation of its international trade commitments. Since that time, Europe’s sugar industry has faced an uncertain future – 83 sugar mills closed and 120,000 jobs were lost – and subsidies remain prevalent as prices plummet below the cost of production.

New USDA Report Outlines India’s Sugar Subsidies

India’s latest export subsidy scheme blatantly flouts international trade rules, and it’s been receiving lots of attention lately. Australia, Brazil, and Guatemala have all recently initiated formal proceedings against India under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism. Leaders from Alvean, the world’s biggest sugar trader, singled out Indian subsidies for suppressing global prices. And…

Don’t Let Critics Fool You, Sugar Policy Costs $0

Today might be April Fool’s Day, but it’s no joke that federal sugar policy once again cost taxpayers $0 last year. Even better, the USDA predicts sugar policy will continue to operate at zero cost for the next 10 years. That means that federal sugar policy cost taxpayers absolutely nothing in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

A Strong Sugar Policy Supports American Jobs

Fifty-seven sugar factories have closed since the 1980s due to low prices, contributing to the loss of 100,000 sugar jobs. In fact, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics stopped tracking “sugar manufacturing” as a job category in 2008 due to the industry’s shrinking size. Thankfully, there are still 142,000 hardworking men and women employed by sugar across 22 states.

Big and Small Subsidies in Last Week’s News

The global sugar market remains in turmoil, plagued for years by a subsidy-fueled oversupply. And as foreign sugar businesses struggle to stay afloat, governments around the globe are taking action. Unfortunately for the market, the action being taken by most governments is to increase subsidies, which further depresses prices. Last week saw two governments – both big and small – intervene.

The Power of No-Cost Sugar Policy

Outsourcing U.S. sugar jobs to subsidized foreign producers was a top legislative initiative for the industry – and Big Candy was willing to claim no-cost U.S. sugar policy was causing them irreparable economic harm in order to win. It didn’t work. Confectioners lost all five congressional votes taken on sugar policy during the debate.