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Are ridiculously cheap sugar exports from Mexico the reason for a stumbling U.S. sugar industry?
U.S. sugar prices are falling, and it’s not because of renewed interest in alternative sweeteners. The American Sugar Alliance filed an anti-dumping sugar lawsuit against Mexico this March, claiming that Mexico has been exporting sugar to the United States at prices far below what is fair in international commerce. The damages to U.S. sugar production, just confirmed in a preliminary report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, are in the millions of dollars.
The American Sugar Alliance claims that U.S. sugar producers lost nearly $1 billion in net sales during the 2013–2014 crop year. On top of that, the USDA has spent an estimated $258.7 million in taxpayer money, through a combination of forfeitures and purchases, to keep its sugar market from collapsing. While this is happening, Mexico has already shipped over 1 million tons of sugar to the United States this year and is on pace to set its all-time record. The International Trade Commission’s report, which can be read at the link above, confirms these and other findings.
In an interview with Nutritional Outlook, American Sugar Alliance spokesman Phillip Hayes said that the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue their investigations, and the entire process may not conclude until early 2015.
Since 2011, U.S. sugar prices have fallen as much as 50% and are currently hovering around historic lows from the 1980s.
Nutritional Outlook magazine