Saturday, June 11, 2005

CAFTA not so sweet

CAFTA will be coming up for a vote in the congress this fall. The Sugar lobby is opposed.

WASHINGTON – America's sugar industry is taking on the U.S. government in a fight over a trade pact with central America – and the betting is that the Bush administration will blink first...
"We see it as a life and death issue," said Jack Roney, policy director at the American Sugar Alliance (ASA). "Every ton of CAFTA sugar that we're forced to import is one ton less we can produce. We are already holding half a million tons off the market and storing it at our expense."
"CAFTA is the tip of the iceberg," Roney said. Some 21 other sugar exporting nations are in line for similar trade pacts with the United States, he said. "Our fear is that if CAFTA passes, these other countries will demand and expect no less than what we gave to the CAFTA countries," he said. "Then we are on a path to handing over most of the U.S. sugar market to subsidized farm producers."

Current protections for US produced sugar raise US prices substantially.

The world price of sugar ended at 8.5 cents per pound Thursday. The U.S. sugar price was 22 cents. "The tariff equivalent now of the quota barriers is 160 percent," Hufbauer said, versus an average U.S. agricultural tariff of 3 percent. Extra sugar imports under CAFTA would bring in an amount equal to roughly 1.2 percent of U.S. sugar consumption.

Even as we save jobs in sugar production, note what is happening to the sugar consuming industries.

Candy maker Russell Stover to cut 400 jobs at Tennessee plant
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - About 400 union employees at Russell Stover's Tennessee plant will be laid off by late summer, a city official says.

Candy makers have been leaving the US for several years now.