From the International Sweetener Symposium:
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—Two studies touting the importance of U.S. sugar policy took center stage today when the American Sugar Alliance released a new video about studies by professors at Texas A&M University and the University of Maryland.
“Researchers from the schools recently published papers about America’s sugar industry and the dire consequences of outsourcing U.S. production to subsidized foreign suppliers,” the video noted.
Dr. Alexander Triantis, the dean of Maryland’s business school, conducted the first study to be spotlighted. His paper detailed the different fortunes of sugar producers and food manufacturers that make sweetened products. In its video, ASA explained the results this way:
“Over the past two decades, sugar prices have declined by 40 percent, when corrected for inflation. Meanwhile, things like labor and fuel costs have gotten a lot more expensive. The resulting economic squeeze shuttered dozens of sugar factories forever and sent 100,000 U.S. workers to unemployment lines.
“All of which stands in sharp contrast to manufacturers of sugar-sweetened foods like candy. Even during the recent economic recession, these companies have continued adding jobs, increasing profits and expanding domestic operations.”
Despite this success, many candy companies are lobbying Congress to gut U.S. sugar policy to help them further inflate their profitability. But the economic consequences and job loss to the U.S. sugar industry would be dire, Triantis found – an opinion shared by Drs. Joe Outlaw and James Richardson from Texas A&M.
“The United States has provided a safety net for U.S. sugar producers for more than 200 years in response to a heavily subsidized and distorted world sugar market,” the Aggie researchers wrote.
The only policy gaps during that time occurred from 1975 to 1976 and from 1980 and 1981, the video explained.
“And on both occasions, prices skyrocketed and burned consumers,” it concluded. “Worst of all, repeating the mistakes of the past would leave America dependent on unreliable, subsidized suppliers like Brazil, Mexico, India, and Thailand.”