Dear Secretary Perdue:
We write today to express our concern regarding the refined sugar shortage expected for the remainder of the 2019-2020 marketing year. While we are encouraged that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Trade Representative have recently taken steps to provide for additional sugar imports, we request that USDA take further action to ensure that an adequate supply of refined sugar is available for delivery to the food and beverage manufacturers across the US that use sugar as an ingredient in their products.
As you know, adverse weather in the midwestern and southeastern US significantly depressed the domestic sugar harvest in 2019. As a result, USDA projects cane and beet sugar production to decrease 8.5 and 10 percent, respectively, compared to the previous marketing year. This marked downturn in production is not limited to the US; Mexico also reported depleted sugarcane crops due to unfavorable weather conditions in key sugar-producing regions, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico, which produces a majority of the country’s raw sugar exports to the US. This decline in North American raw sugar production threatens to disrupt supply chains and increase prices for US consumers.
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