Fighting for Florida
Jun 13 2012
By Senator Marco Rubio
The sugar industry is an important job creator in Florida and across the country, one that is capable of competing with anyone in the world if the playing field is level. Unfortunately, the global sugar trade is not a level playing field as our foreign competitors not only create their own trade barriers but also operate with fewer regulations, fewer union commitments and meager pay.
The goal of our agriculture policy should not be to perpetually prop up uncompetitive industries. It should be in part to gradually expand trade, eliminate barriers to new markets and ensure that industries are competing on a level playing field worldwide. Today, the United States is the largest sugar importer in the world. Meanwhile, countries like India, Thailand, and even the European Union provide not only import controls but even direct financial aid to their sugar industries. Today’s amendment puts at jeopardy the 142,000 U.S. jobs generated by a nearly $20 billion a year industry without even addressing these trade barriers.
While I could not support today's effort to terminate the sugar program, I believe the best way forward is to continue negotiations, either bilaterally or multilaterally, to eliminate all trade barriers for the agricultural industry so that all nations are playing by the same rules. Our food security and, therefore, our national security depends on it.