Durbin Cosponsors Bill to End SUGAR Program and Save Consumers Billions

High sugar prices are responsible for 112,000 jobs lost in the U.S. sugar-using industries between 1997 and 2009

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would phase out the U.S. sugar program which supports artificially high sugar prices, nearly twice the world market price and costs consumers $4 billion a year. The sugar program hurts American workers by driving good jobs overseas; it hurts American consumers by increasing the price of products made with sugar; and it hurts sugar producers by driving down long term demand for their product.


“Illinois has lost thousands of good-paying jobs in the candy industry as companies have closed plants or moved them offshore in order to compete with imported candy that is made with much cheaper, world-priced sugar,” said Durbin. "It’s estimated that for each sugar growing and harvesting job saved through high U.S. sugar prices, nearly three confectionery manufacturing jobs are lost. As Congress works on the next farm bill scheduled for 2012, I intend to push hard for sugar policy reforms that are good for farmers, consumers, processors, and taxpayers.”


The Chicago area has a significant candy manufacturing presence. In 2007, there were 38,398 jobs in sugar-user manufacturing in Illinois. It is estimated that high sugar prices are responsible for 112,000 jobs lost in U.S. sugar-using industries between 1997 and 2009.


The Stop Unfair Giveaways and Restrictions (SUGAR) Act – written by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – is also cosponsored by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). The legislation would eliminate the main components of the country’s sugar support program:

  • Price support loans which have kept the cost of U.S. sugar artificially high, at nearly twice the world price causing significant problems for consumers and sugar-using industries;
  • Marketing allotments which limit domestic sugar sales and restrict buyers’ and sellers’ ability to trade sugar freely (no other U.S. crop is subject to allotments); and
  • USDA’s mandate to set the import quota – which severely restrict access to the U.S. market – at the minimum trade compliant levels, allowing for more imports of lower priced sugar while maintaining the most important safety net for sugar producers. Import quotas.