CONTACT: Phillip Hayes
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
NAPA, Calif.—Sugar policy is often thought of as complex, but the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) boiled it down in a short video released today at the 30th International Sweetener Symposium. ASA said it hopes the video will help lawmakers and Hill staff better understand the policy as the Farm Bill debate continues.
“U.S. sugar policy is based on the economic principle that supply should reflect demand,” the video explains. “[There are] no subsidy checks at all.”
Noting that the only time sugar policy costs a dime is if unneeded subsidized imports are dumped on the market, ASA said, “zero dollars were spent on sugar policy from 2002 to 2012.”
Consumers are also getting a good deal, according to ASA. “Grocery shoppers around the world pay, on average, 14 percent more for sugar than we do.”
The video goes on to explain, “The sugar in a candy bar costs the same in 2013 as it did 30 years earlier. That candy bar, on the other hand, costs four times more today.” Food makers pocket cheap sugar prices to boost their own profit margins instead of sharing savings with consumers.
And food makers looking to maximize profits by sending U.S. sugar prices even lower have led to today’s sugar policy debate on Capitol Hill, said ASA.
For years, big candy makers lobbied for foreign sugar dependence. Foreign governments would subsidize cheap sugar, they figured. Then in 2006, they asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $1.3 billion a year in U.S. sugar subsidies. Sugar farmers said no thank you to that handout. Now, confectioners are asking Congress to mandate permanent oversupplies, essentially capping sugar prices at 1980s levels.
The alternative policy reform being promoted by ASA would instead target foreign subsidies for elimination to allow a free market to take shape and then would eliminate U.S. policy.
This is the third video released by ASA this year. The other two can be accessed here and here.
For more information about the International Sweetener Symposium, visit www.sugaralliance.org
Symposium audio files can be downloaded at www.ASAradio.org