FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—Luther Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, was elected chairman of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) on Monday. And he wasted little time in jumping to the defense of all U.S. sugar producers.
In a video released today, Markwart systematically refutes the charges levied by large confectioners in their recent lobbying campaign to gut U.S. sugar policy and outsource U.S. sugar production to heavily subsidized foreign industries.
“Sugar policy has been debated for over 30 years and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it,” he explained, calling the belief that the U.S. market is closed the biggest fallacy of all. Markwart said the United States is one of the world’s biggest sugar importers, “and we provide access to 41 countries.”
In addition to addressing inaccurate criticisms about U.S. efficiency, domestic prices, and taxpayer cost, Markwart also reminded everyone why no-cost U.S. policy exists.
“This policy only exists because foreign subsidies have wrecked the global market,” he said, noting that the world market is nothing but a thinly traded dumping ground for subsidized surpluses. “The result [of increased subsidies] is a growing glut of sugar that causes prices to be below half of what it costs to produce sugar worldwide.”
Markwart believes that addressing these foreign subsidies and rejecting calls to unilaterally disarm by weakening U.S. policy should take top priority.
Sugar production supports 142,000 U.S. jobs and pumps $20 billion a year into rural economies across the country, and the new ASA chairman is passionate that these jobs not be imperilled by a handful of policy opponents and subsidized foreign competitors.
‘I’ve grown up and worked my entire life in this industry and…I’ve seen factories close; I’ve seen families put out of work because of what these [foreign] subsidies do,” he concluded. “It’s not right; it’s not fair, and America has to stand up for hard-working Americans.”