Dear Mr. Secretary:
We commend you for the Department of Agriculture’s recent actions to increase supplies to the U.S. sugar market to avoid a damaging shortage. Most recently, USDA asked the Department of Commerce to provide an additional 200,000 tons of refined sugar imports from Mexico.
Unfortunately, despite this and other positive steps, we continue to hear from constituents in the food and beverage industry about the severe shortages of refined sugar that are expected later this year. As you know, natural disasters have hit sugar-producing states hard. Compared to last year, USDA projects beet sugar production down 12.6 percent and cane sugar production down 8.5 percent. In fact, sugar production will be down substantially all across North America, including in Mexico and Canada. Recently, USDA reduced its estimate of Mexico’s 2019/20 sugar production by almost half a million tons in just the past month, and now forecasts that Mexico will be unable to meet our import needs this year.
Read more below.