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Free Trade in Sugar is a Laudable Goal, However…

In a recent op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, lobbyist Burleigh C.W. Leonard criticized a recent agreement that stops Mexico from unfairly dumping cheap, heavily-subsidized sugar in the U.S. at below market prices.

Leonard contends that the U.S. is as guilty as Mexico because we have in place a program that protects our domestic sugar industry from unfair trading practices.

In response, Carolyn Cheney of the American Sugar Alliance penned a letter-to-the-editor that was published in the WSJ on November 3, 2014…

“Regarding Burleigh C.W. Leonard’s attack on U.S. sugar policy, it should be noted that America’s sugar producers have agreed to end their policy in exchange for other countries doing the same.

“U.S. producers are efficient and would excel in an undistorted free market. Unfortunately, a free market doesn’t exist, and major exporters like Brazil, Thailand and India are expanding sugar subsidies and creating more distortions.

“Closer to home, a large portion of Mexico’s inefficient industry is government owned, and the U.S. Commerce Department found that the entire Mexican industry was unfairly subsidized and dumping sugar onto the U.S. market at an alarming rate.

“Free trade is a laudable goal that can be furthered by trade agreements between countries. However, those pacts don’t give countries carte blanche to injure Americans with predatory trade practices. The fact that the U.S. and Mexican governments reached an agreement to stop such abuses should be applauded.

“Instead, the author criticizes compromise and promotes unilateral disarmament – a stance that won’t foster free trade but will reward the world’s biggest subsidizers and leave U.S. consumers vulnerable to unreliable foreign suppliers.”

What she said.