Farm Policy Experts Respond to Inaccuracies in GAO Sugar Report

In a recent Southern Ag Today article, three well-respected experts on farm policy – including sugar policy – criticized GAO’s recent report on sugar.

“GAO’s report did not add anything new to the discussion of the U.S. sugar program, and it missed an opportunity to finally provide a balanced report which includes the benefits provided by the U.S. sugar program,” noted Professors DeLong, Deliberto, and Fischer in their recent SAT article.

 The authors highlight that the GAO’s reliance on old analyses overlooks recent U.S. sugar market developments (like ADCVD actions against Mexico and related Suspension Agreements) and doesn’t acknowledge predatory subsidies by countries like Brazil (ethanol sector) or India (sugar sector), contributing to the world’s most distorted commodity market.

“Professors Fischer, DeLong, and Diliberto’s article highlight additional areas that GAO missed in its analysis,” said Dr. Rob Johansson, Director of Economics and Policy Analysis at the American Sugar Alliance. “As the co-authors noted, it is odd that GAO didn’t evaluate the benefits provided by sugar policy to users – including having a domestic supply chain the consumers prefer. In a nationwide poll conducted by Morning Consult, U.S. consumers preferred domestically sourced sugar to foreign sugar by a ratio of 8-to-1.”

The Southern Ag Today article underscores the necessity for a more balanced and comprehensive understanding of the U.S. sugar program. The insights from these farm policy experts spotlight critical research studies overlooked by the GAO including: How does the financial performance of sugar-using firms compare to other agribusinesses? An accounting and economic profit rates analysis; Factors Affecting Sugar-Containing-Product Prices; The impact of US sugar prices on the financial performance of US sugar-using firms; Economic Impact of the U.S. Sugar Industry; and the Sales and Costs of Confectionery Industries in North America.

The American Sugar Alliance is grateful that such respected farm policy experts as Professors DeLong, Deliberto, and Fischer have taken a critical look at U.S. sugar policy and have contributed to a more a balanced picture of farm policy and sugar production in the U.S.