|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 21, 2015
|CONTACT: Phillip Hayes
WASHINGTON—During a House Agriculture Committee hearing about foreign agricultural subsidies today, U.S. sugar producers publicly pledged to scrap U.S. sugar policy if other countries would stop manipulating the global sugar market with trade-distorting policies.
“Absent government intervention, the world sugar price would rise to reflect the cost of producing sugar, and America’s efficient producers could compete well on a level playing field,” said Jack Roney, director of economics and policy analysis for the American Sugar Alliance. “We have endorsed a congressional resolution to eliminate U.S. sugar policy when foreign countries eliminate theirs.”
Roney was referring to H.Con.Res.20, a resolution by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) that instructs U.S. trade officials to systematically target global sugar subsidies to foster a free market.
This concept, often called the Zero-for-Zero sugar policy, has won endorsements from many congressional conservatives because it is the only workable plan for removing government intervention from the world sugar market.
“Rarely in the past few decades has the world price reflected the actual cost of producing sugar – a minimal criterion for a meaningful market price,” Roney said, noting that over the past 25 years, world sugar prices have barely covered half the global average cost of producing sugar.
Subsidies ranging from government checks to export subsidies and debt forgiveness in Brazil, India, Thailand, Europe, and Mexico are particularly egregious, according to Roney. In fact, he told lawmakers that the U.S. government recently found Mexico’s sugar industry guilty of dumping subsidized sugar onto the U.S. market and harming American farmers and taxpayers.
Sadly, Mexico’s actions are not uncommon in the subsidy-filled sugar market, Roney concluded, which is why unilateral disarmament of no-cost U.S. sugar policy would be disastrous for America. Some agricultural critics, including large food manufacturers, are lobbying to gut U.S. sugar policy without addressing the underlying problems caused by foreign governments.
“Sacrificing food security and good American jobs in favor of imported subsidized foreign sugar is bad policy and it will do nothing to further the goal of a free market,” he said. “It would simply punish U.S. farmers, endanger consumers, and reward bad behavior around the globe.”