The American Sugar Alliance (ASA) supports new legislation introduced today by Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) which seeks to zero out the foreign subsidies that make sugar the world’s most distorted commodity market. This legislation levels the playing field and preserves family farms and good-paying jobs, while maintaining a strong and stable domestic supply chain for sugar.
This bill takes a Zero-for-Zero approach to sugar subsidies: only when all foreign countries eliminate their subsidies will the United States give up its existing no-cost sugar policy.
America’s sugar policy offers producers loans that are repaid with interest – not subsidy checks. It’s designed to cost taxpayers nothing.
Despite being among the most efficient and sustainable sugar producers in the world, America’s sugar growers cannot compete against billions of dollars in foreign subsidies. These subsidies drive down world prices for sugar on the global dump market to well below the world average cost of production.
“Time and again, the survival of American sugar producers is threatened by the unfair practices and dumping of cheap sugar by foreign countries. We have to protect our own supply and support the hardworking American sugar producers that bolster our rural communities,” said Cammack. “Free trade must also be fair trade, and we cannot abandon our own production capabilities in favor of cheap imports that destroy livelihoods and our markets. I’m proud to introduce this resolution that will ensure a level playing field and preserve family operations.”
“This bill calls foul on foreign sugar subsidies, finally giving American sugar farmers the opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” said Ardis Hammock, a sugarcane grower on a third-generation family farm in Florida. “Unilaterally eliminating America’s successful sugar policy could put our farms, our jobs, and our nation’s sugar supply at risk.”
“My farm has been in my family for 126 years, and we can only survive to farm for another 126 years if given a fair chance. Representatives Cammack, Kildee and Fischbach recognize the critical threat that foreign sugar subsidies pose to America’s sugar producers, and we appreciate their leadership in introducing this common-sense legislation,” said Daniel Younggren, a sugarbeet grower in Minnesota and President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
The Zero-for-Zero legislation specifically highlights Brazil, India, Thailand, the European Union, Russia, and Mexico for their egregious abuse of sugar subsidies. ASA has extensively catalogued the use of subsidies in these nations, most recently finding that Russia spent $392 million a year in direct and indirect subsidies to bolster its inefficient sugar industry. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence on the global scale.
Original co-sponsors of Zero-for-Zero include Reps. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Garrett Graves (R-La.), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).