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Sugar Reform - Key Issues

About the U.S. Sugar Program

The U.S. sugar program affects all Americans who grow, sell or consume sugar. Sugar is a main ingredient in candy and other confections, and it is also found in many everyday foods such as pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and breads and other baked goods. The current sugar policy is harmful not only to confectionery companies, but also to American consumers. A small group of already sugar producers benefit at the expense of millions of Americans because of this Depression-era subsidy program. No other current U.S. farm program imposes government controls on how much of a commodity can legally be sold. Read more about the U.S. sugar program.

 

Why Reform?

NCA supports reform of the U.S. sugar program to create jobs, protect taxpayers, end government waste, and strengthen the American economy by creating a level playing field for food manufacturing companies that use sugar. A growing number of lawmakers — including Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate — are working to enact a comprehensive reform of the U.S. sugar program that will allow buyers and sellers to conduct business in a competitive marketplace, without unnecessary and costly government intrusion.

Unlike other farm programs, U.S. sugar policy is designed to impose its costs on U.S. consumers, making it essentially a hidden tax on food and beverages. Higher sugar prices for food manufacturers mean higher prices for consumers at the register. 

The U.S. government also buys back excess sugar from processors. In 2013, the government spent $300 million taxpayer dollars in a sugar industry bailout to buy an excess 640,000 tons of sugar. Not only is this wasteful spending, but it is detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Read more about NCA and the Coalition for Sugar Reform's efforts to advocate for reform of the sugar program in order to put an end to tight sugar supplies, high sugar prices, plant closures and relocations, job losses, and unnecessary and wasteful government intrusion on domestic sugar production.

 

Developments

In March 2014, U.S. sugar producers filed an antidumping and countervailing duty petition asking the United States International Trade Commission “to take corrective action against Mexico’s sugar industry for dumping subsidized sugar onto the U.S. market and inflicting harm on growers and taxpayers.” However, the real culprit is not Mexico but the Soviet-style sugar program, which has cost American consumers and businesses billions each year, taxpayers nearly $300 million in 2013 alone, and the U.S. economy 10,000 food manufacturing jobs per year. Read our full statement on this petition and the Sweetener Users Association's statement on the Commerce Department's decision to launch Mexican sugar investigation.

On May 1, NCA hosted a members-only webinar regarding the investigation. For a recording of this webinar, please contact, Kelsey Freeman.

The USITC determined on May 9 that it would move forward with an investigation in the sugar growers' claims.