FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Michael Scuse today addressed the 32nd International Sweetener Symposium, where he thanked U.S. sugar producers for the manner in which they’ve worked with U.S. officials during the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
“We have had constructive dialogue with our sugar producers on how to handle sugar in the TPP, and I want to commend the industry for working with USTR and USDA in working to bring TPP to a conclusion and getting a deal we all can be happy with,” he said.
Scuse reiterated a pledge made earlier this week by a senior trade negotiator that the final TPP package would not harm the operation of no-cost U.S. sugar policy.
On Monday, Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, assistant U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs and commodity policy told the group, “U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and everybody below them are committed to not doing anything in TPP that will undermine the U.S. sugar program.”
Scuse also explained the importance of maintaining fair prices in the U.S. sugar market, which were sent spiraling downward years ago after an influx of subsidized foreign imports.
“We’ve turned the tide since 2013,” he said. “Sugar prices should be healthier than they were a few years ago, allowing farmers the opportunity to reinvest and further improve their operations.”
Scuse noted that getting a final TPP deal is a priority for U.S. agriculture, which is dependent on strong export markets. Agricultural trade over the past six years has been the strongest in history, and today, farm exports support more than 1 million U.S. jobs.