Costa Rica Added To CAFTA

Published online: Jan 27, 2004
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Costa Rica has been added to the Central American Free Trade Agreement by the Bush Administration.

This only servess to heighten the U.S. sugar industry's opposition to the pact, which is seen as a template for the future FTAs that could destroy America's sugarbeet (and cane) growers.

Carolyn Cheney, chair of the U.S. Sugar Industry Group, said, "We fear further concessions on sugar imports as the Administration plans to link the Dominican Republic into CAFTA, and as it negotiates FTAs with 23 other sugar-exporting countries.

She said, "This development only adds to the burden placed upon the American sugar industry, which faces an already oversupplied market. The announcement further strengthens our resolve to work diligently to defeat the sugar provisions of the CAFTA. We continue to urge the Administration to address global sugar subsidies globally, in the World Trade Organization, not piecemeal in the FTAs.

Many potato/sugarbeet growers are fearful that if any more sugar above that already allowed sugar-producing countries by quota allotments comes into the United States through free trade, it will cause sugar prices to fall. In that case, many sugarbeet acres would most likely be planted to potatoes which will then oversupply the potato, and most likely, other commodity markets.

The U.S. sugar industry supplies less than half domestic sugar needs.