Two US lawmakers have introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives against the subsidies on sugar given by several countries including India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico as well as the European Union.
Such a subsidy, lawmakers Kat Cammack and Dan Kildee, argued harms American farmers and the domestic sugar market. The resolution promotes a sound and fair sugar policy that protects domestic producers against foreign abuses, eliminating America’s no-cost sugar policy in exchange for the elimination of all foreign sugar subsidies, a media release said Thursday. “Time and again, the survival of American sugar producers is threatened by the unfair practices and dumping of cheap sugar subsidised by foreign countries,” Congresswoman Cammack said.
Foreign countries including Brazil, India, Thailand, Russia, Mexico, as well as the European Union, have subsidised artificially cheap sugar on the global market at the expense of the American sugar industry, she said. “Free trade must also be fair trade, and we should not abandon our own production capabilities in favour of cheap imports that destroy our domestic markets and American producers’ livelihoods. Food security is national security,” she said. Brazil provides direct and indirect subsidies of at least USD 2.5 billion/year; India at least USD 1.7 billion/year in subsidy supports for its inefficient sugar industry; Thailand has more than tripled its sugar exports since 2004 with USD 1.3 billion/year in subsidies and government price-fixing, said the two lawmakers.
“American sugar farmers are the best in the world, but they need a fair playing field to compete in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, other countries like Brazil, Thailand and India have poor labour standards, unfair sugar subsidies and regularly dump their surplus sugar on the world markets, posing a threat to American family farms,” said Congressman Kildee. “That’s why we need an American sugar programme that supports our farmers,” he said. Ryan Weston, chairman of American Sugar Alliance, said in any head-to-head competition, American sugar beet and sugarcane producers come out on top.
“We are among the most efficient in the world while having some of the highest standards for labour and sustainability. But our 1,51,000 family farmers and skilled workers can’t compete fairly if foreign governments spend billions of dollars on subsidies to prop up their domestic industries and arbitrarily depress the price of sugar,” he said.