It’s not uncommon for the editorial pages of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal to criticize policies backed by U.S. sugar producers. After all, the editors oppose America’s farmers having any kind of safety net to help manage unpredictable weather or volatile markets distorted by foreign subsidies.
It is uncommon for them to print sugar producers’ side of the argument. So, we felt compelled to spotlight the fact that both publications recently printed our responses to their editorials, which amazingly panned the Trump Administration for holding Mexico’s subsidized sugar industry accountable for breaking U.S. trade law.
Both letters, penned by American Sugar Alliance Chairman Jack Pettus, are included below:
- Don’t Forget Mexico’s Sour Behavior
Washington Post, June 15
The June 12 editorial “A deal with a bad aftertaste” said that Americans “would be better off if there were global free trade in sugar.” U.S. sugar producers agree. But we were surprised the editorial board failed to mention that the U.S. government found Mexico guilty of violating U.S. trade law.
We’re more efficient than most of our global competitors and would thrive in a subsidy-free, free-trade environment in which everyone follows the rules. That’s why we’ve publicly endorsed a plan before Congress to target foreign subsidies and eliminate U.S. sugar policy once a free market forms.
Unfortunately, other nations continue to cheat the system. Countries such as Brazil and India still subsidize their industries.
Meanwhile, Mexico broke the law and dumped subsidized sugar on the United States, harming our farmers and sending Americans to the unemployment line. And for years, Mexico refused to comply with the law, until the Trump Administration made it.
The Commerce Department’s recent deal with Mexico is not perfect, but it goes a long way toward holding Mexico accountable for its predatory trade practices, and it will help preserve U.S. farms and jobs. That’s good news for consumers, who will continue to have access to high-quality, homegrown sugar at affordable prices.
Regarding your editorial “Trump’s New Sugar High” (June 13): The U.S. government found Mexico guilty of breaking America’s trade law after its inefficient sugar industry, which was partially owned by the Mexican government, dumped subsidized, below-cost product into the U.S. market. Even after being found guilty, Mexico continued to violate U.S. trade law.
American farmers suffered, factories closed, workers lost jobs and taxpayers were harmed as a result.
Amazingly you leave out these important facts as you criticize the Trump Administration for enforcing U.S. law and holding Mexico accountable. Instead of acknowledging the U.S. jobs and farms in jeopardy, or Mexico’s unlawful acts, the editorial focuses on sugar prices.
U.S. sugar producers receive less for their product today than when Jimmy Carter sat in the Oval Office. Corrected for inflation, sugar prices are down more than 40% since the 1980s. That should not be cause for criticism, but rather a reason to celebrate a diverse and efficient domestic industry—an industry, by the way, that was under attack by the predatory trade practices of a trade cheat until the Commerce Department recently stepped in.