Akron, NY — Earlier this month Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) visited the Ford Gum & Machine Co., Inc., the last American gumball maker still in operation, plant to learn firsthand the harmful impact the U.S. sugar program has on manufacturers, according to the Coalition for Sugar Reform.
During his visit, Ford Gum President and Owner George Stege thanked Collins for his support and urged the rest of the New York Congressional delegation to support the reform movement.
“All of the others (gumball makers) have closed or gone up to Canada,” Stege said. “They leave because they can get sugar so much cheaper in Canada than we can get sugar here. We’re at a competitive disadvantage, and that’s the way the U.S. sugar program has been forever.”
Stege went on to say he’d like to see parity in pricing with Canada, adding: “If they can get it at world sugar pricing, I think we should be able to get it at world sugar pricing. They go into our market, and Canadian ball gum is dominating our market, because they can undercut us.”
Collins, who is a co-sponsor of the Sugar Policy Modernization Act, called support for current sugar program indefensible, noting “it is simply manipulation of quotas to artificially jack the price up for anyone who is a producer of a product using sugar.”
He explained that while the lobbying on behalf of the sugar processing industry is “intense,” those wishing to see reform have a strong argument around fair trade, adding: “and it is certainly in line with what our president wants — more jobs in America.”