Washington, DC – Sal Ferrara, President of Ferrara Pan Candy Company and Chairman Ex-Officio of the National Confectioners Association, testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee. The Committee is hearing testimony this week concerning passage of the U.S. Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Ferrara urged Congress to support the agreement, which will deliver economic benefits to the United States.
“It's important for the U.S. government to support the trade agreement with Central America because it represents almost $3 billion in increased export sales to the region,” said Ferrara. “CAFTA upholds the important principle that trade agreements negotiated by our country should be comprehensive. No product or sector should be excluded if we are to get the best deal for the American people.”
The confectionery industry supports the passage of CAFTA because of the increased export opportunities that will be available to U.S. manufacturers and the comprehensive nature of the agreement. All commodities are included in the agreement, including sugar, a significant ingredient in confectionery manufacturing.
The amount of sugar U.S. manufacturers would be allowed to purchase from Central America under CAFTA is relatively small (equivalent to about 1% of the U.S. supply) and should have no impact on U.S. sugar growers. However, by providing a modest increase in sugar imports, the U.S. will obtain new markets for U.S. producers of other agricultural commodities – including wheat, feed grains, rice, beef and pork. Passage of CAFTA will mean considerable overall benefits for farmers and ranchers throughout the U.S. by opening markets previously unavailable.
Congress is expected to vote on CAFTA in the months ahead. Approval of the agreement may signify that the United States is open to more trade negotiations and a fair system promoting trade and commerce among all nations.