The U.S. sugar program is a complicated mess that protects a handful of very large co-ops and sugar mega-processors to the detriment of American small businesses and food manufacturers as well as the hundreds of thousands of families that rely on manufacturing jobs for their livelihoods.
The sugar program forces manufacturers to pay twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world because it restricts how much domestic sugar can be sold and how much sugar can be imported from other countries. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the sugar program killed 123,000 jobs between 1997 and 2015. This puts American small businesses at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to creating jobs. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that for every sugar-processing job subsidized through artificially high U.S. sugar prices, three American manufacturing jobs are lost.
A SIMPLE, BIPARTISAN SOLUTION
Support the Foxx amendment to bring modest changes to the sugar program that will not hurt farmers. It is a spoonful of fairness that creates an adequate supply of sugar based on a reasonable competitive approach that reaches from the farm to the retail shelf – without risking an appropriate safety net for family farms.
- Loan rates at zero taxpayer cost
- Repeal unnecessary marketing allotments and trade restrictions
- Repeal the Feedstock Flexibility Program
Instead of the higher loan rates that coincided with sugar processors’ massive $259 million defaults on their loans and large taxpayer costs in 2013, the amendment would return loan rates to levels that were historically associated with zero taxpayer costs.
The USDA sets import quotas at a legal minimum each year, with very limited flexibility to respond to changing market conditions as needed. The USDA also sets detailed quotas known as marketing allotments that restrict the amount of sugar domestic producers can sell. This amendment eliminates the restrictive marketing allotments and gives the USDA the authority to better respond to ever-changing market demands in real time. NOTE: Foreign countries WILL NOT be able to dump sugar in the U.S. because of this amendment.
Under current law, if sugar prices fall below guaranteed levels, the government will buy surplus sugar and then sell that sugar to ethanol companies, typically at a loss to taxpayers. This amendment would eliminate this and protect taxpayers.