While most folks were spending the holidays with friends and family and ringing in the New Year with confetti, foreign nations were busy doubling down on sugar subsidies.
Here’s a list of some of the foreign sugar subsidies doled out since late November.
- The Brazilian Senate approved a program called RenovaBio, which will require fuel distributors to sell more domestically produced ethanol and biodiesel. According to Reuters, this program will boost demand for ethanol and diesel fuel from last year’s 26 billion liters to 40 billion, providing yet another major benefit to Brazil’s sugar/ethanol complex.
- The Pakistani government will buy 300,000 metric tons of sugar to clear surpluses at mills at a cost of $139.4 million in an effort to quell unrest among farmers who have no place to sell their crops, according to the Business Recorder.
- The provincial government in Sindh agreed to increase export subsidies for mills to help clear 500,000 metric tons of stock, according to Ary News. Mills had refused to start crushing new cane from farmers until surpluses were cleared.
- Indian sugar mills are demanding the government expedite a payment of $73.6 million for electricity so they can pay cane farmers, according to the Business Standard.
- The provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa directed mills to pay a minimum of $1.66 per 40 kilograms at the gate and the same price at the farm, minus transportation costs, for sugar in an effort to provide price support to farmers, according to The Nation.
Meanwhile, as 2017 came to a close in the United States, U.S. sugar policy once again cost $0. That makes 14 of the last 15 years of running at no cost. The lone exception was the result of foreign subsidization, after Mexico broke U.S. trade law and dumped subsidized sugar on the market.
As we begin a New Year – and Congress begins a new Farm Bill – let’s not forget that U.S. sugar producers would rather compete in a subsidy-free world market, which is why they support the Zero-for-Zero plan by U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL).
Under the plan, the no-cost U.S. sugar policy would be rolled back in exchange for the elimination of foreign subsidy programs. But until that happens, unilateral disarmament of America’s no-cost sugar policy would only jeopardize U.S. jobs while rewarding Brazil, Pakistan, India, and other subsidizers for their bad acts.