Contact: Marti Pupillo
(February 26, 2014 – Dana Point, Calif.) The prospects for U.S. sugar policy and opportunities offered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership were just a few of the topics covered this week at the 2014 International Sweetener Colloquium at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif. The event drew 450 industry professionals from the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany and Turkey, maintaining the high level of attendance reached in recent years.
Hosted by IDFA and the Sweetener Users Association (SUA), the colloquium addressed the sweetener industry's latest challenges, obstacles and opportunities with presentations from a wide range of speakers. Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, serves as SUA treasurer, a position he has held for the past six years.
Keynote Highlights USDA Actions
Michael Scuse, under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, made his third consecutive appearance to kick off the program with the keynote address. He discussed the record sugar production in the United States last year and outlined 10 action steps his team took to manage the surplus stocks after years of tight domestic inventories.
USDA continues its close observation of the international and domestic markets, Scuse said, and anticipates that enhanced information gathering from key trade partners, such as Mexico, will allow better balance in the North American market in the future.
Scuse and his department are responsible for implementing provisions of the federal sugar program, which remains unchanged under the 2014 Farm Bill.
The sugar-using industries, including dairy, oppose the current U.S. sugar program because it manipulates sugar supplies, creating unnecessary instability in sugar markets. The program also leads to higher costs for processors and increased prices for consumers.
IDFA and representatives from other sweetener-using industries applauded the under secretary's commitment to ensure that U.S. sugar policy balances the needs of both sugar producers and sugar users. They also welcomed the under secretary’s remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its potential to open markets for U.S. agricultural products. Sweetener users believe that expanding market access for sugar in the negotiations also will help to ensure open markets for other U.S. commodities.
21st Century Trade Agreements
Discussions on the ongoing trade negotiations concerning the Pacific Rim and the European Union garnered significant interest. Panelists reviewed the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements and highlighted the importance of renewing Trade Promotion Authority to the passage of these agreements.
Other topics covered include consumer trends, international energy and ethanol, organic sugar and the labeling of foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GMO) crops, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the outlook for U.S. and international sweetener markets.
"Today's complex global marketplace and economic environment present sweetener-using industries, such as dairy, with a variety of challenges, as well as opportunities," said Hough. "This annual gathering provides a critical forum for all sweetener stakeholders, and we're certain that trend will continue."
IDFA would like to thank the nine companies that sponsored events and activities during the International Sweetener Colloquium. They are ADM, ASR Group, Blackhive, CSC Sugar, Evergreen Sweeteners, Imperial Sugar, Ingredion, JSG Commodities and Sweetener Supply Corporation.
The 2015 International Sweetener Colloquium will be held February 8-11 at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies within a $125-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 nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.