Congress Could Make This the Last Holiday Season of Artificially High Commodity Costs for American Food Manufacturers

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WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2017) – As families gather together this month to celebrate the holidays and enjoy treats like chocolate and candy during their holiday celebrations, food companies of all sizes are calling on Congress to reform the costly and outdated U.S. sugar program. The sugar program hurts small, family-owned businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
“It’s time for Congress to stop perpetuating the legacy of crony capitalism, subsidies and payouts of the harmful and flawed sugar program that benefits a small group of wealthy sugar processors at the expense of small, family-owned businesses,” said John Downs, president & CEO of the National Confectioners Association and co-chair of the Coalition for Sugar Reform. “Without reform, high sugar prices and taxpayer bailouts will continue to stifle economic growth in the United States and threaten American jobs. Congress has an opportunity to fix this outdated sugar program next year and level the playing field to ensure American manufacturers have access to the sugar they need without unnecessary, costly government intrusion in the marketplace.”

The U.S. sugar program forces manufacturers to pay twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world, putting American businesses at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to creating jobs. U.S. prices for sugar are artificially inflated as a result of special protections put in place by the federal government, including limits on domestic production and imports, industry loans, and forced purchases.

The program is authorized through a piece of legislation known as the farm bill, which is up for debate and reauthorization in 2018. Last month, a bipartisan and bicameral group of federal lawmakers took a big step in the right direction by introducing The Sugar Policy Modernization Act (HR 4265 / SB 2086), which would fix the Depression-era program that has killed 123,000 jobs over the past 20 years.

Food manufacturing is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the U.S. Companies that use sugar as an ingredient in their products include important segments of the American economy – from frozen food, and fruit and vegetable canning, to cereal, confectionery, bread and bakery production. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that for every sugar-growing job saved through artificially high U.S. sugar prices, approximately three American manufacturing jobs are lost.

“America’s chocolate and candy companies alone support 465,000 U.S. jobs,” Downs said. “When Congress reforms the sugar program, we’re ready to create even more.”
For more information about how the U.S. sugar program hurts U.S. consumers and businesses, visit SugarReform.org.

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The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. As the leading association for the $35 billion U.S. confectionery industry, NCA educates the public to help ensure that it understands and appreciates the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 55,000 workers in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country. More than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. For every one job that is created by confectionery companies, another seven are supported in related industries. Learn more about the “Power of Sweet” at CandyUSA.com, or follow NCA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.