Outdated sugar policy places a burden not only on the confectionery industry, but also on consumers, says NCA.
The bill, introduced in the House by Reps. Joe Pitts (R-PA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and in the Senate by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), would remove the most expensive, restrictive and market-distorting provisions generated in the 2008 Farm Bill. The legislation would also deliver economic relief to the American consumers and businesses that have been forced to pay a $14 billion hidden tax over the last four years so that the federal government could provide a special interest subsidy to sugar producers.
“We applaud the bipartisan leadership in Congress for introducing the bill and beginning the Congressional conversation on the merits of reforming the costly sugar program,” said Larry Graham, president of the NCA.
“The U.S. sugar program artificially limits the supply of refined sugar available to domestic confectioners, making it difficult for them to obtain supplies at a reasonable cost,” continued Graham. “The program also creates a competitive advantage for foreign confectioners who pay a significantly lower world price for sugar and import their products into the U.S. market. The tight market generated by these policies threatens the overall supply, jeopardizing smaller U.S. companies and putting jobs at risk. Over the last 10 years the program has eliminated more than 14,000 confectionery jobs and more than 75,000 food manufacturing jobs.”
“We’d like to be able to buy sugar for what the rest of the world is able to buy sugar for—it’s as simple as that,” said Eddie Opler, chairman and CEO of World’s Finest Chocolate, a third-generation confectionery company.
“Our biggest obstacle to growing is the fact that we have to pay so much more for sugar than our competitors who are stationed right across the border in Canada,” said George Stege, president of Ford Gum & Machine Co. Inc. “How do you compete when your most abundant product is 46% more in cost? It’s no wonder that our competitors have gone to Canada.”
Industry is not the only segment affected by the program; estimates show the current program has cost consumers approximately $3.5 billion per year by restricting domestic output and limiting access to competitive supplies.
“In the past several years [sugar] has more than quadrupled in price and we find it hard to have to pass this on to our customers,” said Susan Karl, president and CEO of Annabelle Candy Co., Inc. “It’s getting harder and harder for people to afford even the simple pleasures, and of course candy is one of them in moderation.”
“By artificially increasing the cost of sugar, the administration sacrifices the interests of not only small businesses and people employed in sugar-using industries, but also consumers themselves,” said Graham. “Large sugar sellers benefit, while everyone else loses.”
Learn more about U.S. sugar policy and consumers, food manufacturers and small businesses will benefit from reform at www.SugarReform.