Yoho introduces bill targeting foreign sugar subsidies

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015- Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., reintroduced a bill Friday that encourages the administration to target foreign sugar subsidies. Under the “Zero-for-Zero” plan, U.S. sugar policy would also be rolled back in exchange for the elimination of foreign programs, which Yoho says are distorting world prices and inhibiting a free market.

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Members of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) praised Yoho and the eight original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res. 20.  ASA chairwoman Carolyn Cheney said Yoho's proposal is an alternative to other proposals in Congress to change the U.S. sugar program by eliminating the U.S. tariff-rate quotas that limit sugar imports.

“Weakening U.S. policy in a vacuum punishes efficient U.S. producers, jeopardizes U.S. jobs, and doesn't build a freer market," she said. "That approach only makes market conditions more volatile by rewarding the world's worst subsidizers, but Yoho's approach gets all countries at the table and all policies on the table so that real market reforms can be made simultaneously.”

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The resolution specifically mentions subsidies in Brazil, Thailand, India, and Mexico. Increased subsidization by those countries since 2013 - including new export subsidies and debt forgiveness in India and bailouts for Brazil's sugarcane ethanol industry - have sent global prices well below world average production costs, according to ASA. 

Co-sponsors of the Zero-for-Zero policy include Reps. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.; Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.; Richard Hudson, R-N.C.; Ted Poe, R-Texas; Tom Rooney, R-Fla.; Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.; Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and Frederica Wilson, D-Fla.

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