IDFA and 13 other trade groups last week commended Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) for introducing a bill to end U.S. sugar subsidies. "The Free Sugar Act of 2011," S.685, would repeal U.S. sugar price supports, supply restrictions and import quotas that result in high sugar prices and tight markets for IDFA members and other U.S. food manufacturers.
As members of the Coalition for Sugar Reform, IDFA and the other associations sent a joint letter of support, reinforcing the positive benefits the bill would bring to consumers, businesses, employees and taxpayers.
"The bill will also end retrograde policies that prohibit the sale of sugar without government-issued quotas called 'allocations,' and it will remove new restrictions on imports, introduced in 2008, that have severely hampered trade flows and hurt both this country and our trading partners," the coalition letter said.
Lugar's bill is the second measure calling for an end to sugar subsidies to be offered in the Senate this year. In January, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) filed a bill called the Stop Unfair Giveaways (SUGAR) Act, S. 25, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry. IDFA also supports this bill.
UPDATE: In the House, Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Danny Davis (D-IL) today introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. sugar program.
Price supports keep the cost of U.S. sugar artificially high, nearly twice the world price. Strict tariffs currently imposed by the United States on sugar imports make it difficult for food manufacturers to make up any shortfall by importing sugar. Tight supplies are already driving up sugar prices.
IDFA members that make ice cream, flavored milk and other products using sugar, about 200 companies in total, are greatly affected by low domestic supply levels and high input costs of sugar.
Lugar Free Sugar Act of 2011
For more information, contact John Kelly, IDFA manager of international affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3507