FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 4, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—A senior U.S. trade official yesterday told American sugar producers that the government will not consider unreasonable sugar market access demands by foreign nations in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, thus solidifying its commitment to the smooth operation of no-cost U.S. sugar policy.
“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,” said Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, assistant U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs and commodity policy with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
This pledge was reiterated several times during a speech at the 32nd International Sweetener Symposium and was met with thunderous applause from the audience of more than 400 U.S. sugar farmers, processors, millers, and refiners.
“We are encouraged by the USTR’s repeated assurances, and we thank U.S. negotiators for their open communications throughout the process,” said Carolyn Cheney, chairwoman of the American Sugar Alliance, which hosted the conference.
Cheney added that sugar did not appear to be a major obstacle to concluding TPP. She also said that it is important to remember that the United States has one of the world’s most open sugar markets and has already granted meaningful market access to 41 countries in past trade deals.
“In this last stage of TPP negotiations, we are confident that TPP is within reach,” Lauritsen explained. “The administration, from the President on down, is committed to negotiating better trade agreements for America’s farmers, ranchers, workers and businesses—ones with high-end enforceable standards that we believe TPP will deliver.”