Legislation targeting job-killing foreign sugar subsidies is back before Congress with the reintroduction of the Zero-for-Zero sugar policy by Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL).
Under the plan, America’s no-cost sugar policy would be rolled back in exchange for the elimination of foreign subsidy programs. Foreign subsidies are blamed for keeping world sugar prices below the average world cost of production and preventing a true global free market from forming.
Low prices recently took a toll on American jobs when Hawaii ceased sugar production in December, after being in business for more than a century. Sugar producers on the Mainland – from beet-growing states in the Midwest to the cane regions of Florida, Louisiana, and Texas – are also struggling with U.S. sugar prices that are currently as low as they were in the 1980s.
Members of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) praised Yoho and the 11 original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res.40, and are urging other lawmakers to support the legislation.
Jack Pettus, ASA’s chairman, said new technology and strong business practices have made U.S. producers among the world’s most efficient. They are ready to compete on a level international playing field that is subsidy-free, he said.
“America’s sugar policy ensures a safe and adequate supply of sugar at reasonable prices by preventing a flood of foreign subsidized sugar from collapsing our market.” he said. “As long as foreign subsidies distort world prices, we’ll fight efforts to unilaterally disarm our successful policy.”
Pettus said Yoho’s proposal is smarter than suggestions by big candy companies and some in Congress to gut sugar farmers’ safety net without addressing market manipulation by foreign governments.
“Congressman Yoho should be applauded for his plan to hold foreign cheaters accountable and to push for a marketplace void of government interference,” Pettus said. “It is the only proposal out there that offers real free-market reform and wouldn’t punish hardworking Americans.”
The resolution specifically mentions subsidies in Brazil, Thailand, India, and Mexico, which are big sugar producers and are among the world’s most subsidized. By contrast, U.S. policy historically costs taxpayers $0 because our producers don’t receive subsidy checks.
Co-sponsors of the Zero-for-Zero policy include Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Garret Graves (R-LA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Tom Rooney (R-FL), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR).