FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-507-8303
WASHINGTON-Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) reintroduced his Zero-for-Zero sugar policy, on Friday, which would instruct the administration to target the foreign sugar subsidies that are distorting world prices and keeping a free market from forming. Under the plan, U.S. sugar policy would also be rolled back in exchange for the elimination of foreign programs.
Members of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) praised Yoho and the eight original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res. 20, and said sugar farmers from across the country are in town this week to educate lawmakers about the current U.S. policy and to encourage support for the resolution.
“U.S. producers are highly efficient and would thrive in a subsidy-free market,” said ASA chairwoman Carolyn Cheney. “But we don’t believe unilaterally disarming a successful U.S. policy is the first step to realizing a free market.”
Cheney said that’s what makes Yoho’s proposal so much smarter than suggestions by some in Congress to reopen the recently passed Farm Bill and gut U.S. sugar farmers’ safety net without addressing the international marketplace.
“Weakening U.S. policy in a vacuum punishes efficient U.S. producers, jeopardizes U.S. jobs, and doesn’t build a freer market,” she explained. “That approach only makes market conditions more volatile by rewarding the world’s worst subsidizers, but Yoho’s approach gets all countries at the table and all policies on the table so that real market reforms can be made simultaneously.”
The resolution specifically mentions subsidies in Brazil, Thailand, India, and Mexico. Increased subsidization by those countries since 2013 – including new export subsidies and debt forgiveness in India and bailouts for Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol industry – have sent global prices well below world average production costs.
“We only have a sugar policy because foreign subsidization has wrecked the global market,” Cheney concluded. “Obviously, if people are interested in building a free market for sugar, these foreign subsidies must be identified and addressed.”
The ASA recently unveiled a new section on its website to track foreign subsidy news.
Co-sponsors of the Zero-for-Zero policy include Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Ted Poe (R-TX), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).