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Lawmaker calls for end to sugar price-fixing…in Malaysia

It’s not just Americans who want the government out of the sugar market.

Last month, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said at a news conference…

“If the government is sincere about caring for the people, it should open up the import of sugar, abolish the price-fixing policy and allow any trader to freely import sugar from overseas.”

The Malaysian Insider reports that…

“In calling for an open market where any trader could freely import sugar, Chong said it was an irony that while on the one hand the government was talking about prosecuting businesses engaged in profiteering, on the other it was condoning and assisting the ‘biggest profiteering activity in the country’ by protecting the interests of the four licensed importers.”

Many in the U.S. continue to call for the elimination of our own domestic sugar program – consisting of modest import restrictions and tariffs.  And we couldn’t agree more.  Except…

How is it a “free” market when the governments of competing countries such as Malaysia continue to fix prices without regard to the global market and establish cartel-like control of importation?

And Malaysia’s far from alone.

In a recent report published by the Americans for Limited Government Foundation, Dr. J. Wesley Burnett, PhD noted that a number of World Trade Organization (WTO) members, “with only few exceptions…offer levels of subsidization that exceed U.S. agricultural subsidies.”

In fact, Dr. Burnett notes that “the two largest sugar producing countries in the world, Brazil and India, increase supports in an effort to expand or defend their international market share as prices have declined in the face of a supply glut.”

The only practical solution to this “arms race” of government subsidization is multi-national disarmament of all government subsidies – as outlined in a congressional joint resolution proposed by Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida.  His zero-for-zero proposal would end the current U.S. sugar program in return for the simultaneous elimination of similar programs in other sugar producing countries.

If interests as diverse as Ted Yoho and Chong Chieng Jen can agree on getting government out of sugar, isn’t it time for Congress to hop onboard?