Market Concerns and Policy Solutions Punctuated 2024 Colloquium

Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2024) – In the final session of the International Sweetener Colloquium, co-hosted by the Sweetener Users Association (SUA) and the International Dairy Foods Association, panelists today discussed practical ways to reform the U.S. sugar program to better balance the interests of its many stakeholders.

Leading the session, Randy Green of Watson Green LLC explained how current U.S. sugar policy fails to meet today’s market needs. He outlined how U.S. sugar consumption has outpaced production for decades. From 2000/01 to 2022/23, demand for sugar grew 23.5 percent, but domestic production grew just 5.5 percent. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative have frequently reallocated tariff rate quotas (TRQs) to address sugar supply needs, the program itself remains outdated.

“A failure to supply markets adequately through traditional channels is a policy choice, and current policy has let down the sugar-using market,” said Green. “The good news is that policy changes can be made to ensure U.S. sugar users have adequate supplies, forgoing disruptions and costly high-tier imports.”

To address these sugar supply issues, this year’s event focused on smart policy solutions. Highlights from the week include:

  • “Given the state of the sugar market — with record high sugar prices putting a strain on sugar-using companies and American consumers alike — we appreciate this opportunity to bring industry leaders together to discuss solutions, including U.S. sugar program reform in the farm bill.” – Perry Cerminara, Chairman, SUA
  • “The record attendance from this year’s Colloquium is proof that the time for fixing U.S. sugar policy is now.” – Rick Pasco, President, SUA
  • “The many problems with high-tier imports, out-of-control sugar prices and rapidly growing imports of sugar-containing products are simply symptoms of a fundamentally broken sugar program. Congress needs to address this problem in the next farm bill.” – Bill O’Conner, Agriculture Policy Expert, Watkinson Miller PLLC
  • “Confectioners have been straining under the pressures of rising sugar costs, especially the small businesses and manufacturers that form the backbone of local communities across the country. Reforming the U.S. sugar program can help these companies not just survive but thrive for the benefit of American consumers and food manufacturers.” – Dan Shorts, Senior Director of Government Affairs, National Confectioners Association

Congress has the opportunity in this year’s farm bill to address these concerns through straightforward reforms to the U.S. sugar program, providing relief to American companies and consumers.

Media Contact:
Anna Miller