Calls on USTR and USDA to Update Import Allocation System as Recommended by GAO
Washington, D.C. (November 30, 2023) – The Sweetener Users Association (SUA) today welcomed the announcement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that it will reallocate 223,740 metric tons of the unused fiscal year 2024 raw sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ).
The announcement comes on the heels of an October 31 GAO report that recommended both USTR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) evaluate alternative sugar import quota allocation methods. USTR and USDA both agreed with GAO’s recommended actions.
“Sweetener users have repeatedly urged USTR and USDA to make this early reallocation as U.S. sugar supplies remain extremely tight,” said SUA President Rick Pasco. “We commend both USTR and USDA for taking this action early enough in the current fiscal year to provide more time for much-needed imports to enter the U.S. market. Following GAO’s recommendations, we encourage both USTR and USDA to create a more formal and transparent system for allocating raw sugar TRQs going forward.”
GAO made its recommendations after finding that the U.S. sugar program’s current tariff restrictions are based on 40-year-old data that do not reflect current market conditions, leading to fewer than expected sugar imports and financial burdens for American consumers and the economy.
Congress has the opportunity to modernize U.S. sugar policy to better serve all sugar stakeholders in the next farm bill.