(Chuck Muth) – SunStar.com reported this week that the Philippines’ Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) recently reaffirmed “the policy of the state in regulating the release of imported sugar in the domestic market.”
According to the publication, the SRA approved a resolution declaring that “it is in the national interest to regulate imported or foreign sugar because its influx will adversely affect the sugar industry…. which employs 720,000 workers in 20 sugar-producing provinces of the country.”
The government noted that the SRA “is mandated to establish and maintain such balanced relation between production and requirement of sugar and such marketing conditions as will ensure stabilized prices at a level reasonably profitable to the producers and fair to consumers.”
The article also noted that the regulatory powers of the SRA are “clearly intended to protect the national interest, as well as interests of local producers who may be adversely affected by the influx of foreign sugar.”
It’s interesting to note this is essentially the same rationale for the current U.S. sugar program that sweets-and-treats manufacturers continue to criticize.
The importation of artificially cheap, government-subsidized foreign sugar would absolutely adversely affect our domestic sugar industry, which similarly employs thousands of Americans.
And thanks to the U.S. sugar policy, American consumers have enjoyed extremely stable prices – with the cost of a pound of sugar today being almost identical to the cost of a pound of sugar 30 years ago – which assures reasonable profits for sugar producers while simultaneously being fair to consumers.
Admittedly, this isn’t ideal for free-market advocates.
However, it’s not a free market when foreign competitors tip the scales by subsidizing their own sugar industries, thereby giving such foreign competitors an unfair advantage in the global market.
The solution is the “Zero for Zero” resolution sponsored by Florida Rep. Ted Yoho which would end the current U.S. sugar program in return for foreign governments ending their subsidy programs.
A true free market must be free of such “cheating.” And until we reach that point through new international trade deals it’s in our national interest to continue the current policy.
Congress should adopt Zero for Zero.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of Nevada News & Views. His opinions are his own.