Bakers’ Request for Additional Imports of Refined Sugar Granted by USDA Following Urgent Meeting

The USDA agreed today to increase the Tariff Rate Quota of refined sugar from Mexico by an additional 200,000 short tons. The move comes following an urgent meeting between USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, the American Bakers Association (ABA), and members of the Sweetener Users Association last week. ABA highlighted the crucial need for a consistent source of refined sugar for production and market demand following abysmal sugar beet and sugar cane crop yields in the United States.

Lee Sanders, ABA’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, shared the impact the volatile sugar supply has on bakers and requested additional relief. In November 2019, the USDA granted increased imports of refined sugar by 100,000 short tons following notification from ABA. Additionally, in February 2020, the USDA reallocated 86,000 short tons of raw sugar to the U.S. 

“This is a timely step toward our goal of 600,000 short tons of refined sugar,” said Sanders. “Our bakers certainly appreciate the reprieve, but more refined sugar will be needed to meet seasonal demands.”

“We appreciate the USDA’s engagement with us and for considering the concerns of the baking industry,” added Sanders.

ABA represents wholesale bakers, one of the top sugar-using industries in the United States. Because US sugar policy is based on a tightly controlled import market bound by tariff rate quotas (TRQ), ABA will continue to push the USDA for upward adjustments to the import quotas for sugar to account for this year’s decreased domestic production. 

The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C.-based voice of the wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has worked to increase protection from costly government overreach, build the talent pool of skilled workers with specialized training programs, and forge industry alignment by establishing a more receptive environment to grow the baking industry. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 1,000 baking facilities and baking company suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, cookies, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas, and many other wholesome, nutritious, baked products feeding America’s families. The baking industry generates more than $153 billion in economic activity annually and employs more than 799,500 highly skilled people.