Contact: Marti Pupillo
(Washington, D.C. — April 23, 2007) Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) today announced his support for U.S. sugar policy reform and its inclusion in the 2007 Farm Bill. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and more than 75 other organizations and companies joined the senator's call for reform and issued a statement asking Congress to revise the current sugar program.
"The present U.S. sugar policy — built around government-set price floors, government-enforced marketing quotas and strict limits on imports — is ill-suited for the rapidly evolving markets of the 21st century," the statement explains. "The current sugar policy distorts markets, hampers trade liberalization and will become increasingly costly to taxpayers in the years ahead."
In the statement, the agricultural and business organizations recommend revising U.S. sugar policy to make it more market-oriented and to reduce government intervention.
The dairy industry is greatly affected by U.S. sugar policy. In 2006, the dairy industry used approximately 1.1 billion pounds of sugar, representing 12% of the total amount of cane and beet sugar used for industrial food processing in the United States.
The statement, which was signed by such diverse groups as the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Grocers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as individual companies like Kraft Foods and The Coca-Cola Company, demonstrates that the existing sugar policy affects a wide range of industries.
The statement also highlights the negative aspects of U.S. sugar policy on international trade.
"We've already seen how the extremely protectionist U.S. sugar policy can hamstring policy negotiations," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior vice president. "The Congressional debate over the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) indicates that the current sugar program encourages opposition to trade liberalization. That hurts both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, which are hoping to benefit from free trade deals."
IDFA commends Sen. Durbin and other congressional leaders who are committed to pushing for sugar reform this year. IDFA looks forward to working with all congressional leaders, especially those serving on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, to develop a constructive and forward-looking sugar policy for the 2007 Farm Bill.
# # #
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 530 companies representing a $90-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org