Tricked on Our Treats: Time to Rethink the U.S. Sugar Program

Capitol Hill Briefing
October 30, 2009 12:00PM
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Daniel Griswold, Director, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; author, Mad About Trade; and William A. Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council.
For decades, the U.S. government has restricted sugar imports through a system of quotas designed to keep domestic prices artificially high, even though foreign producers can grow and sell sugar at much lower prices. Domestic growers maintain that they need the quotas to protect them from “dumped” imports. Critics argue that the program increases costs for U.S. consumers and hurts domestic confectioners and other sugar-using industries. It also inhibits development abroad by walling off the U.S. market from farmers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. In a recent letter, the National Foreign Trade Council and other trade organizations urged the Obama administration to consider relaxing the quotas in the face of high global prices and the threat of domestic shortages. Isn’t it time to rethink the U.S. sugar program?