The Dec. 10 editorial about sugar was uncharacteristically confusing and contradictory [“A sour sugar deal”]. On one hand, it advocated higher sugar prices to curb consumption. On the other, it criticized U.S. sugar policy for inflating prices and endorsed opening the market to a glut of cheap, subsidized foreign sugar.
Global subsidies make sugar the world’s most distorted commodity market, where prices swing violently and dip well below production costs. U.S. policy protects consumers from that roller coaster and has kept prices affordable and stagnant for the three decades.
Meanwhile, Brazil, India and Thailand, the world’s biggest producers, are increasing subsidy rates and manipulating global prices. Mexico’s inefficient industry violated U.S. trade law by dumping subsidized sugar onto the U.S. market and harming U.S. farmers, workers and taxpayers.
U.S. sugar producers are among the world’s most efficient, and we support free trade, which is why we back a global subsidy cease-fire. And we agree that prices should be higher, something that would occur naturally without global subsidies.
However, unilateral disarmament will not foster free trade; it will only exacerbate the problem by rewarding the world’s biggest subsidizers with more market share.
Carolyn Cheney, Arlington
The writer is chairwoman of the American Sugar Alliance.