Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) led a group of 44 U.S. Congressmen in asking Trade Representative Michael Froman to request that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members allow open access to American sugar markets in order to lower costs and save jobs.
As ongoing negotiations with member countries of the TPP draw to a close, Kelly and fellow U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) co-authored a letter to Froman, which said that current sugar tariffs are damaging U.S. consumers and businesses by keeping prices unfairly high.
“Expanding our sugar market for our trading partners will bring sugar prices dramatically down for American families and factories while increasing supplies and boosting competition among American companies,” Kelly said.
The congressmen noted the potential threat not only to jobs within the sugar industry, but also to areas of commerce affected by the sugar trade. Citing the loss of more than 120,000 jobs over the last 15 years in related industries, the letter stated in part that “increasing U.S. access to sugar can help to reverse this trend of job losses.”
Framing the big picture, the lawmakers pointed to the wide array of culinary and beverage enterprises affected by the trend, from bakeries and confectionaries to dairy product, soft drink and other manufacturers along with a broad range of companies ranging from the smallest family-owned enterprises to multi-national businesses.
Sugar, the representatives continued, supports trade in the larger context as well: agriculture, retail, transportation and other fields depend on the income generated by the manufacture, distribution and trade of the sweetener.
“American jobs depend on access to sugar,” the lawmakers concluded, thanking Froman for a commitment to a balanced TPP to boost the U.S. economy and that of its trading partners.
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