Washington, DC (May 6, 2016) – Today, the Sweetener Users Association (SUA) applauded 45 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to allow an increase in the tariff rate quota (TRQ) for raw sugar.

In a letter to Secretary Vilsack yesterday afternoon, policymakers on both sides of the aisle wrote:

 “We respectfully request that you immediately use your authority to make adequate sugar supplies available in the United States at reasonable prices. Because of the federal sugar program and marketplace factors, both supplies and prices are distorted, to the detriment of workers, businesses and consumers – and even some segments of the sugar industry.

“Cane sugar refiners are having difficulty in obtaining raw sugar supplies because of unintended consequences stemming from a bilateral agreement between the United States and Mexico. At the same time, the demand for cane sugar has been on the upswing because of growing interest in non-genetically engineered foods.

 “… As a consequence, prices in the U.S. futures market have skyrocketed and markets have been unstable. Calls for more adequate supplies of sugar have come not only from companies that use sugar, but also from U.S. cane refiners, including some of those owned by sugar growers. … “

Rick Pasco, President of the Sweetener Users Association said, “We applaud the two principal co-authors of the letter – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Joe Pitts – and all of the other members of Congress in both chambers for coming together in a bipartisan manner to press for a much needed increase in the TRQ for raw sugar. Given market demand and the tight feedstock supply situation, what is needed now is a commercially significant increase in the TRQ, and we commend members of Congress for standing up and calling for an increase in sugar supplies needed by America’s sugar-using industries, which support an estimated 600,000 American jobs.”

The full text of the congressional letter can be found here.

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