IDFA Asks Administration to Uphold NAFTA Sugar Provisions
At a high-level meeting held at the White House last Thursday, IDFA joined representatives of several food industry associations and companies to protest the consideration of a sugar-trade proposal by U.S. House and Senate Farm Bill conferees. IDFA believes that, in addition to further inflating the cost of sugar in the U.S. market, the proposal to restrict Mexican sugar exports to the United States could cause other commodity groups in Mexico to ask for similar protection from U.S. exports, including dairy products.
Although full implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began last month, the U.S. sugar lobby has proposed a separate trade deal to be included in the 2008 Farm Bill. The proposal calls for a quota on future Mexican sugar exports to the United States, limits on third country imports of sugar, and requires the United States to ban sugar re-exports to Mexico.
"Working together in opposition to the sugar proposal, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation attended the White House meeting to ask President Bush to protect the NAFTA provisions and publicly oppose any side deal," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, who attended the meeting. "We also urge Farm Bill conferees to reject the proposal in conference."
At the meeting, administration officials agreed to bring the food industry's concerns to the president for consideration and action. IDFA expects the administration to make a public statement on this issue in the next few days.
Mexico is the largest market for U.S. dairy exports, representing 28% of the volume and more than $800 million in sales. In 2007 alone, these sales jumped more than 98% over the previous year.
Meeting with high-level members of the administration, Hough joined representatives from The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Pepsi and Mars, as well as these food industry associations: American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, Corn Refiners Association, Emergency Committee on American Trade, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Foreign Trade Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Oilseed Processors Association and Sweetener Users Association.
IDFA will continue working to oppose the side deal as well as the sugar provisions in the current versions of the Farm Bill; both would further inflate the cost of sugar in the U.S. market. IDFA also believes in protecting the integrity of free trade agreements, because they are important for promoting trade growth in dairy products.
For more information, contact Hough at email@example.com or Helen Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted February 4, 2008