WASHINGTON — The Sugar Policy Alliance here is urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to increase sugar import quotas for the current fiscal year and the upcoming year to avoid shortages.
In a letter signed by ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Nestlé USA, Unilever U.S. and others, the alliance points to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates that show U.S. sugar reserves have less than two weeks’ worth of supply on hand.
Without allowing additional imports to enter the market, consumers will pay higher prices and domestic food manufacturing jobs will be at risk, the alliance contends. The current wholesale price of U.S. refined sugar is above historic norms at 35 cents per pound.
“In addition to restrictive U.S. sugar policies, a number of factors have contributed to the tightened U.S. sugar market including late sugar beet plantings and harvesting, a decline in sugarcane harvest, looming hurricane season concerns and refineries that will have to operate at near-record rates to supply adequate sugar,” according to the alliance. “Secretary Vilsack has the authority to act now, before a crisis occurs.”
The Sugar Policy Alliance represents consumer and trade groups, confectioners, bakers, cereal manufacturers, beverage makers and dairy food companies that use sugar, as well as trade associations for these industries.
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