CSR Comments on House Agriculture Hearing on Status of the Sugar Program; ASA Recommendations Are Not Supported By the Facts

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Coalition for Sugar Reform

    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Sugar Reform (CSR),
 an organization of 18 consumer, taxpayer advocates, environmental and business
 groups, today issued the following statement commenting on the oversight
 hearing conducted by the House Agriculture Committee on the federal sugar
 program.
     Larry Graham, Chairman of the CSR Steering Committee and President of the
 Chocolate Manufacturers Association, said, "We are pleased the Committee has
 started its review of this program and we look forward to working with the
 Committee to help change the current law to more cost-effectively address the
 needs of small producers, consumers, environmentalists and business.  The
 current program is a failure for everyone, especially the federal taxpayer.
     "The growers association has asked for special domestic rules for sugar.
 On the merits, the producers have failed to make a compelling case.  There is
 nothing 'unique' about sugar that justifies such an ill-advised program such
 as raising loan rates that already produce surpluses and raise domestic prices
 to more than twice world levels."
 
     Graham said that:
 
     *  "Last year the federal government spent $465 million to buy sugar that
        it now stores at a cost of more than $1 million a month.  USDA and the
        Congressional Budget Office now estimate the program will cost
        taxpayers from $900 million to $1.7 billion during the next decade.
     *  Despite this expenditure, many sugar growers have experienced financial
        stress even as program benefits flow disproportionately to a few
        massive sugar cane enterprises.  The General Accounting Office (GAO)
        estimates nearly 50 percent of the federal  benefits go to just over
        one percent of the sugar growers, largely plantation owners in Florida.
     *  GAO reported last year that in 1998, the sugar program also cost
        consumers $1.9 billion a year in higher food prices.
     *  The sugar program jeopardizes the United States' ability to gain
        greater access to foreign markets for its agricultural commodities and
        value-added food products.  Last week's meeting in Quebec demonstrated
        that developing countries are unwilling to open their markets to our
        pork, corn and other agricultural products as long as we keep our sugar
        market closed to their sugar exports.
     *  The current program is beginning to cost real jobs in the inner city as
        candy companies close down major manufacturing facilities and move
        production overseas to gain access to world price sugar.
     *  Production on marginal lands in Florida continues to pose a major
        threat to the Everglades, even while the federal government is spending
        billions to end pollution and save this environmental crown jewel."
 
     The Coalition for Sugar Reform is a group of 18 organizations and
 associations whose objective is market-oriented reform for the U.S. sugar
 program. Coalition members represent consumers, environmentalists, think
 tanks, and advocates of fiscal responsibility, businesses and other interests.
 A listing of Coalition members and other additional information is available
 on the Coalition's website: http://www.sugar-reform.org .
 
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SOURCE Coalition for Sugar Reform
    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Sugar Reform (CSR),
 an organization of 18 consumer, taxpayer advocates, environmental and business
 groups, today issued the following statement commenting on the oversight
 hearing conducted by the House Agriculture Committee on the federal sugar
 program.
     Larry Graham, Chairman of the CSR Steering Committee and President of the
 Chocolate Manufacturers Association, said, "We are pleased the Committee has
 started its review of this program and we look forward to working with the
 Committee to help change the current law to more cost-effectively address the
 needs of small producers, consumers, environmentalists and business.  The
 current program is a failure for everyone, especially the federal taxpayer.
     "The growers association has asked for special domestic rules for sugar.
 On the merits, the producers have failed to make a compelling case.  There is
 nothing 'unique' about sugar that justifies such an ill-advised program such
 as raising loan rates that already produce surpluses and raise domestic prices
 to more than twice world levels."
 
     Graham said that:
 
     *  "Last year the federal government spent $465 million to buy sugar that
        it now stores at a cost of more than $1 million a month.  USDA and the
        Congressional Budget Office now estimate the program will cost
        taxpayers from $900 million to $1.7 billion during the next decade.
     *  Despite this expenditure, many sugar growers have experienced financial
        stress even as program benefits flow disproportionately to a few
        massive sugar cane enterprises.  The General Accounting Office (GAO)
        estimates nearly 50 percent of the federal  benefits go to just over
        one percent of the sugar growers, largely plantation owners in Florida.
     *  GAO reported last year that in 1998, the sugar program also cost
        consumers $1.9 billion a year in higher food prices.
     *  The sugar program jeopardizes the United States' ability to gain
        greater access to foreign markets for its agricultural commodities and
        value-added food products.  Last week's meeting in Quebec demonstrated
        that developing countries are unwilling to open their markets to our
        pork, corn and other agricultural products as long as we keep our sugar
        market closed to their sugar exports.
     *  The current program is beginning to cost real jobs in the inner city as
        candy companies close down major manufacturing facilities and move
        production overseas to gain access to world price sugar.
     *  Production on marginal lands in Florida continues to pose a major
        threat to the Everglades, even while the federal government is spending
        billions to end pollution and save this environmental crown jewel."
 
     The Coalition for Sugar Reform is a group of 18 organizations and
 associations whose objective is market-oriented reform for the U.S. sugar
 program. Coalition members represent consumers, environmentalists, think
 tanks, and advocates of fiscal responsibility, businesses and other interests.
 A listing of Coalition members and other additional information is available
 on the Coalition's website: http://www.sugar-reform.org .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81588756
 
 SOURCE  Coalition for Sugar Reform