For Stable Prices, Supplies & No Tax Dollars: Industry Representative Outlines U.S. Sugar Policy Needs

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Sugar Alliance

    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In testimony before the House
 Agriculture Committee today, a representative of the domestic sugar industry
 outlined four policy objectives that are needed to assure reliable supplies
 and price stability of sugar for consumers and producers.
     Ray VanDriessche, a farmer from Bay City, Michigan, and current president
 of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, also said the policy objectives
 would, among other things, "protect taxpayers by generating all sugar producer
 income from the marketplace," and not rely on the government for income.
     VanDriessche said, "Our industry has worked very hard to review many
 options to achieve these four objectives, and we strongly support the
 following basic elements" as the House Agriculture Committee begins
 deliberation of the 2002 Farm Bill:
 
     (1) Continue the non-recourse loan program for sugar, the same as it is
         for other agricultural commodities.
     (2) Retain the Secretary of Agriculture's authority to limit imports under
         the tariff-rate quota system.
     (3) Operate the sugar program at little or, preferably, no cost to the
         government.
     (4) Resume the government-administered inventory management mechanism
         similar to that contained in the 1990 Farm Bill, but only implemented
         once our import-quota circumvention and Mexican import-access problems
         are solved.
 
     VanDriessche said, "We want to emphasize the industry's support for
 inventory management. However, it must not be implemented as long as our
 market is being ravaged by those who evade our trade commitments and import
 rules."
     In expanding on the trade issues that are plaguing the industry,
 VanDriessche said, "It is clear that our current sugar policy is being
 undermined by severe breaches in our trade agreements. Mexico wishes to ignore
 its NAFTA commitments, and international trade houses employ what amounts to
 smuggling, or laundering schemes, to circumvent our import tariffs and
 undermine our domestic policy ... Until these trade problems are resolved, no
 sugar program can work effectively."
     He went on to say, "Our producers' trust in trade agreements has been
 betrayed by these problems that have also undermined confidence in and the
 integrity of future agreements."
     As for the current state of the domestic sugar industry, VanDriessche
 said, "During the past year and a half, our industry suffered immensely when
 prices collapsed as a result of an oversupply of sugar in the market. The
 reasons for this include: our large import obligations under the WTO; import
 quota circumvention by so-called stuffed molasses and cane syrups (concoctions
 with no commercial value that are formulated from world dump-price sugar,
 shipped into the U.S. where the sugar is extracted and sold on the domestic
 market, undermining quota restrictions); an increase in sugar-containing
 products; the uncertainty of imports from Mexico as disputes continue over
 NAFTA; excellent crop yields; and the need to increase our efficiencies in
 response to rising costs."
     He said that revenues to producers under the current farm bill have been
 reduced by $2.2 billion since 1996, with no savings passed through to
 consumers. "This has led to the permanent closure of 17 beet and cane mills,
 and is forcing many producers to either buy their processing factories or exit
 the business. We were just informed last week that another beet factory will
 not process a crop this year. The largest refined sugar marketer in the U.S.
 today is in bankruptcy.
     "Today, the U.S. sugar industry is in the worst economic condition in
 decades, and without prompt action by our government on several fronts, this
 nation's sugar industry will be devastated," VanDriessche said.
     VanDriessche was accompanied at the hearing by Jack Nelson, President of
 Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, a sugarcane growing and processing company in
 Santa Rosa, Texas; Jim Horvath, President of American Crystal Sugar Company, a
 beet processing cooperative in Moorhead, Minnesota; Jack Lay, President of
 Refined Sugars, Inc., a sugarcane refinery in Yonkers, New York; and Jack
 Roney, staff economist for the American Sugar Alliance.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X53942342
 
 

SOURCE American Sugar Alliance
    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In testimony before the House
 Agriculture Committee today, a representative of the domestic sugar industry
 outlined four policy objectives that are needed to assure reliable supplies
 and price stability of sugar for consumers and producers.
     Ray VanDriessche, a farmer from Bay City, Michigan, and current president
 of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, also said the policy objectives
 would, among other things, "protect taxpayers by generating all sugar producer
 income from the marketplace," and not rely on the government for income.
     VanDriessche said, "Our industry has worked very hard to review many
 options to achieve these four objectives, and we strongly support the
 following basic elements" as the House Agriculture Committee begins
 deliberation of the 2002 Farm Bill:
 
     (1) Continue the non-recourse loan program for sugar, the same as it is
         for other agricultural commodities.
     (2) Retain the Secretary of Agriculture's authority to limit imports under
         the tariff-rate quota system.
     (3) Operate the sugar program at little or, preferably, no cost to the
         government.
     (4) Resume the government-administered inventory management mechanism
         similar to that contained in the 1990 Farm Bill, but only implemented
         once our import-quota circumvention and Mexican import-access problems
         are solved.
 
     VanDriessche said, "We want to emphasize the industry's support for
 inventory management. However, it must not be implemented as long as our
 market is being ravaged by those who evade our trade commitments and import
 rules."
     In expanding on the trade issues that are plaguing the industry,
 VanDriessche said, "It is clear that our current sugar policy is being
 undermined by severe breaches in our trade agreements. Mexico wishes to ignore
 its NAFTA commitments, and international trade houses employ what amounts to
 smuggling, or laundering schemes, to circumvent our import tariffs and
 undermine our domestic policy ... Until these trade problems are resolved, no
 sugar program can work effectively."
     He went on to say, "Our producers' trust in trade agreements has been
 betrayed by these problems that have also undermined confidence in and the
 integrity of future agreements."
     As for the current state of the domestic sugar industry, VanDriessche
 said, "During the past year and a half, our industry suffered immensely when
 prices collapsed as a result of an oversupply of sugar in the market. The
 reasons for this include: our large import obligations under the WTO; import
 quota circumvention by so-called stuffed molasses and cane syrups (concoctions
 with no commercial value that are formulated from world dump-price sugar,
 shipped into the U.S. where the sugar is extracted and sold on the domestic
 market, undermining quota restrictions); an increase in sugar-containing
 products; the uncertainty of imports from Mexico as disputes continue over
 NAFTA; excellent crop yields; and the need to increase our efficiencies in
 response to rising costs."
     He said that revenues to producers under the current farm bill have been
 reduced by $2.2 billion since 1996, with no savings passed through to
 consumers. "This has led to the permanent closure of 17 beet and cane mills,
 and is forcing many producers to either buy their processing factories or exit
 the business. We were just informed last week that another beet factory will
 not process a crop this year. The largest refined sugar marketer in the U.S.
 today is in bankruptcy.
     "Today, the U.S. sugar industry is in the worst economic condition in
 decades, and without prompt action by our government on several fronts, this
 nation's sugar industry will be devastated," VanDriessche said.
     VanDriessche was accompanied at the hearing by Jack Nelson, President of
 Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, a sugarcane growing and processing company in
 Santa Rosa, Texas; Jim Horvath, President of American Crystal Sugar Company, a
 beet processing cooperative in Moorhead, Minnesota; Jack Lay, President of
 Refined Sugars, Inc., a sugarcane refinery in Yonkers, New York; and Jack
 Roney, staff economist for the American Sugar Alliance.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X53942342
 
 SOURCE  American Sugar Alliance