A group of nine national free-market advocacy and education organizations have submitted a coalition letter to Senate Republicans urging that language be added to the Farm Bill that would zero out the current U.S. sugar program in return for foreign competitors zeroing out their sugar industry subsidies.
The group supports a resolution introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), called Zero for Zero, which is in line with President Trump’s stated long-term trade goal of “No tariffs, no barriers…and no subsidies.”
The coalition letter notes that the current U.S. sugar program “exists because foreign subsidies have made sugar the world’s most volatile commodity market” and hurts American farmers.
“Without the stability of America’s sugar policy program,” the letter argues, “American farmers and workers would lose market share to less-efficient industries backed by overseas treasuries. Legislative attempts to unilaterally disarm our policy would be catastrophic for the rural economy.”
Yoho’s Zero for Zero amendment was defeated in the House. Conservative leaders who signed the letter are urging the Senate to include it in their version of the Farm Bill.
“The Yoho language would provide a Congressional end to sugar subsidies, but only upon certification by the President that other competing countries have done the same so our sugar farmers are competing in a free market,” wrote Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government, a coalition member, in a statement.
Some in Congress want to eliminate the U.S. sugar program of targeted tariffs and import quotas on nations that “cheat” the system with government subsidies without getting agreements from those countries to end their interference and manipulation of the market.
“It’s not a free market when global competitors are free to cheat by slapping subsidy training wheels on their less-efficient sugar operations,” said Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach, another signer of the coalition letter.
“The U.S. should absolutely not unilaterally lay down our available trade weapons to combat these foreign subsidies,” Muth continued. “That wouldn’t be putting America first; that’d be putting American last.”
In addition to Manning and Muth, the coalition letter is signed by Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, Tom Giovanetti of Americans for a Strong Economy, Andrew Langer of the Institute for Liberty, Jim Martin and Saul Anuzis of 60 Plus Association, Matthew Kandrach of Consumer Alliance for a Strong Economy, Seton Motley of Less Government and Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation.
You can read the full letter by going to: https://bit.ly/2MYmm2x