In case my recent tour of a cacao plantation didn’t clue you in, yeah, I’ve got a sweet tooth. So I found the Heritage Foundation’s recent chart of the week troublesome. The U.S. sugar industry is fairly minor in terms of overall agricultural production. But they’re big spenders when it comes to lobbying. Why? Trade barriers to sugar imports! Says, Heritage:
Trade barriers artificially inflate prices by implementing quotas that limit the amount that food manufacturers and consumers can buy from other countries. Riley explains: “If a bakery or a candy company wants to import more sugar than is allowed under the government’s quota, it must pay a prohibitive tariff of 15.36 cents per pound for raw sugar. At current prices, that works out to a whopping 62 percent tariff rate.”
The U.S. sugar policy also costs taxpayers more every time they choose to buy their favorite candy, cereal or any other sugar-containing product. Studies by the American Enterprise Institute and Sweetener Users Association peg the cost to consumers between $2.4 billion and $3.5 billion per year.