The American sugar industry will not support any further opening of the United States market to sugar imports.
Sugar and dairy are key issues for the farm sector at the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Hawaii this week.
The TPP is arguably the most ambitious free trade agreement ever negotiated and the inclusion or exclusion of sugar is one of the most hotly debated issues in the agricultural deal.
The American Sugar Alliance’s Don Phillips, said sugar will be on the agenda but the ASA will argue that any agreement that will harm the US sugar program, will be opposed by the US negotiators.
“Well, it will definitely be on the agenda, because there are a number of countries, particularly Australia that want it on the agenda,” he said.
“Any opening up would have to be limited and the US Trade Representative has said they would not do anything that would undermine the Sugar Program.
“So we will just have to see how that plays out but we would see there would be very limited scope for additional commitments on sugar.”
Mr Phillips argued that free trade agreements that are already in place, have freed up markets and few countries are enthusiastic about opening the trade in sugar.
“It [sugar market] tends to be protected and subsidised in most countries, including the major exporters, such as Thailand, Brazil, and India,” he said.
The Australian Sugar Industry Alliance trade committee chairman, Paul Schembri, said that, with a bitter history in free trade agreements, cane growers were determined not to be left out again.
“We want increased access to the United States,” he said.
“We’re currently accessing world prices of say 12, 13 cents a pound. [The] United States is an opportunity to access prices of, say, 21 cents a pound.
“There is a significant deficit between domestic production and consumption in the United States.
“There is room for Australian cane producers. This is critical for our industry.”
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/the-american-sugar-industry-will-not-support-further-opening-of-the-us-market-to-sugar-imports)