Center for North American Studies CNAS Issue Brief IB

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1 Center for North American Studies CNAS Issue Brief IB International Trade Agreements: Implications for U.S. Sugar P. Lynn Kennedy and Elizabeth D. Roule Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness Louisiana State University Agricultural Center December 2004 Department of Agricultural Economics Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Texas Cooperative Extension The Texas A&M University System

2 Center for North American Studies International Trade Agreements: Implications for U.S. Sugar CNASIB December 2004 P. Lynn Kennedy and Elizabeth D. Roule 1 1 Authors are Alexander Regents Professor and Research Associate, respectively, Department of Agricultural Economics, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and affiliated with the Center for North American Studies. 2

3 International Trade Agreements: Implications for U.S. Sugar P. Lynn Kennedy and Elizabeth D. Roule 1 The previous decade has witnessed the increasingly important nature of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements. In order to maintain consistency with trade provisions established by the WTO and those resulting from the Uruguay Round, the United States has negotiated several bilateral and regional trade agreements. These agreements will provide the United States not only with additional access to foreign markets, but will also help foster positive relationships with trading partners. The elimination of barriers to trade in relation to agricultural commodities and processed goods has been an increasingly controversial subject. The sugar industry, in particular, has been vocal regarding its ability to protect its producers from increased competition and preserve domestic price levels. Regional trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), and a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), will likely impact the U.S. sugar industry. In addition, they will have implications in terms of current and future bilateral trade agreements including the South African Customs Union (SACU) and Thailand. Also important are the provisions of the 2002 farm bill affecting sugar. Current U.S. Sugar Policy: The 2002 Farm Bill To better understand current domestic sugar policies, it is important to review the provisions of the 2002 farm bill. It is often helpful to compare 2002 guidelines related to a specific commodity with those established in the previous bill which governed U.S. farm policy from The 2002 farm bill policies regarding sugar consist of a loan program, a tariff-rate quota system, and a re-export program. Non-recourse loans are made available to processors of U.S. grown sugarcane and sugar beets at a rate of 18.0 cents/lb. and 22.9 cents/lb., respectively. Tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) are established by the U.S. government within the guidelines agreed to during the Uruguay Round to help support domestic prices. Re-export policies are split between 1 Authors are Alexander Regents Professor and Research Associate, respectively, Department of Agricultural Economics, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and affiliated with the Center for North American Studies.

4 refined sugar and products destined for export that use sugar as a primary input (USDA/ERS, 2003-a). In comparison with the 1996 Farm Bill, forfeiture penalties and marketing assessments were eliminated. At the same time, TRQs, payment-in-kind programs, and non-recourse loans are continued (USDA/ERS, 2002). Examination of Specific Free Trade Agreements and the U.S. Sugar Industry Regional FTAs Countries participating in regional free trade agreements, including NAFTA, CAFTA- DR, and an FTAA, can potentially affect the U.S. sugar industry (Table 1). Consistently high levels of production and exports and the elimination of trade barriers related to sugar could impact U.S. sugar producers, processors, and consumers. Table 1: 2003/2004 Centrifugal Sugar Statistics (Thousand Metric Tons) Total Sugar Production Total Exports Australia 5,023 3,907 CAFTA-DR Nations 4,158 2,232 North America 13, South Africa 2,559 1,300 South America 33,451 16,683 Swaziland Thailand 6,900 5,250 Source: USDA/FAS Two countries of importance in analyzing the U.S. sugar industry and the impacts of regional free trade agreements are Brazil and Mexico. Brazil and the United States may alter their trade policies as a result of an FTAA agreement. Since Brazil is ranked first in terms of world sugar production (USDA/ERS, 2003-b), changes in trade with Brazil could have a significant impact on the U.S. price as well as the world price. 2

5 Issues related to the Mexican sugar and high-fructose corn syrup industries came to the forefront during the conclusion of NAFTA negotiations. Upon the final phase-in of NAFTA in 2008, Mexico s ability to send its excess sugar production to the U.S. will no longer be bound at its current level of 250 thousand metric tons (TMT). Depending on future Mexican production and consumption patterns, Mexican producers will benefit from open access to the U.S. market for their excess production. At the same time, increased imports from Mexico will put downward pressure on domestic U.S. prices. U.S. SACU FTA The U.S. - South African Customs Union (SACU) FTA, pursued following the African Growth and Opportunity Act, will strive to eliminate trade barriers between the United States, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland (USTR, 2003-a). Specific policies are being considered related to the distribution of sugar imports in order to limit those arriving in Swaziland (USDA/ERS, 2003-b). U.S. Australia FTA During the marketing year, Australia produced 4,610,000 metric tons of sugar. Total exports for the year amounted to 3,447,000 metric tons. However, only 5,000 metric tons were imported into Australia during the same period (USDA/ERS, 2003-b) Effective January 2005, this agreement links the United States and Australia in a free trade agreement that creates opportunities for U.S. agricultural and manufacturing industries. Industries associated with scientific and technological research will benefit from the elimination of trade barriers (USTR, 2004-a). Sugar was excluded from the agreement. U.S. Thailand FTA Although negotiations for the U.S. Thailand Free Trade Agreement are still in the preliminary stages, there appear to be many opportunities associated with this potential free trade agreement. These benefits include the reduction of trade barriers and improved regional relationships with nearby countries and the U.S. government (USTR, 2004-b). Thailand utilizes a three-tier quota in relation to sugar production. The quota system sets sugar into three categories: sugar consumed by Thai citizens, sugar set aside for continuing export, and sugar 3

6 designated for export markets. In and over quota tariff rates for market year were set at 65 percent and 95 percent, respectively (USDA/ERS, 2003-b). Impacts on U.S. Sugar Price and Production As the amount of sugar allowed to enter the U.S. market increases as a result of the current round of new trade agreements, downward pressure on the domestic sugar price may cause the current U.S. sugar program to no longer operate at zero net-cost as required by U.S. law. Policy-makers will need to evaluate alternative means of supporting sugar producers, processors, and rural communities as world access to domestic sugar markets increases. Without government support or the ability of producers to control production, increased imports will result in lower domestic prices. In turn, this will cause domestic production to decrease and domestic consumption to increase. Table 2 presents the impact of various levels of imports on prices, production, and consumption in the absence of government support. It illustrates downward movement in domestic prices as imports are increased, lowering the domestic price to the world price level when additional imports in the amount of 3,089 TMT are allowed to enter the United States. As U.S. sugar prices fall, forfeitures of sugar under the marketing loan program will begin to occur. The levels of increased imports that will cause the domestic price to reach the forfeiture levels for the five U.S. cane producing states are shown in Table 3. In Louisiana, for instance, a 368 TMT increase in sugar imports from levels would result in sugar loan program forfeitures. For Texas, forfeitures would be triggered by a 439 TMT increase in imports, 446 TMT for Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and 495 TMT for Florida. Table 2: Changes in Prices and Quantities Resulting from Alternative US Market Access Scenarios Additional Domestic Domestic Beet Cane U.S. Imports from World Price World Price Price Price Production Production Consumption 2003/04 Base TMT $/MT /lb $/MT /lb TMT TMT TMT Base ,416 3,716 8, ,370 3,700 8, ,190 3,637 9,141 1, ,972 3,558 9,344 2, ,560 3,401 9,775 3, ,148 3,233 10,284 4

7 Table 3: Changes in Prices and Quantities Resulting from Alternative Sugar Forfeiture Level Scenarios Additional Imports from 2003/04 Base Domestic Price Domestic Price World Price World Price Beet Production Cane Production U.S. Consumption Forfeitures TMT $/MT /lb $/MT /lb TMT TMT TMT Louisiana ,249 3,658 9,089 Texas ,217 3,646 9,117 Hawaii/Puerto Rico ,214 3,645 9,120 Florida ,192 3,638 9,139 Conclusions The United States is currently involved in several international trade agreements and negotiations with countries desiring to increase trade with the United States. Several of the countries involved are major sugar producers and major sugar exporters. As the amount of sugar allowed to enter the U.S. market increases, downward pressure on the domestic sugar price may cause the current U.S. sugar program to no longer operate at zero net-cost. Policy-makers will need to evaluate alternative means of supporting sugar producers, processors, and rural communities as world access to domestic sugar markets increases. Without government support or the ability of producers to control production, increased imports will result in lower domestic prices. In turn, this will cause domestic production to decrease and domestic consumption to increase. As imports increase, the U.S. price will fall to the world price level when additional U.S. imports reach 3,089 TMT. Subsequently, the domestic price will reach the forfeiture level for the five U.S. cane producing states when additional shipments range from 368 TMT for Louisiana to 495 TMT for Florida. The tendency is that increased sugar imports will cause downward pressure on domestic prices in the absence of government intervention. When the government does intervene, increased imports will increase the domestic cost of maintaining the sugar program. As the U.S. sugar industry faces increased pressure from the world market, the government faces the dilemma of how it can continue to support the sugar industry in light of the increased expense. Policy makers must weigh the monetary cost of the support program with the number and type of jobs in the industry and other welfare effects as they consider future courses of action. 5

8 References USDA/ERS (2003 a). Briefing Room Farm and Commodity Policy: Program Provisions. Updated April 1, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. USDA/ERS (2002). The 2002 Farm Bill: Title I Commodity Programs, Side by Side Comparison Updated July 9, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. USDA/ERS (2003 b). World Sugar Policy Review. Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook/SS-236. Updated January 31, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. USDA/FAS (2004). PS&D Official Statistical Results. Centrifugal Sugar: Total Sugar Production & Total Exports. United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. Washington, D.C. Accessed at on September 14, USTR (2003). Background Information on the U.S.-SACU FTA. June 2, United States Trade Representative. Washington, D.C. USTR (2004 a). US and Australia Complete Free Trade Agreement. February 8, United States Trade Representative. Washington, D.C. USTR (2004 b). USTR Notifies Congress of Intent to Initiate FTA Negotiations with Thailand. February 12, United States Trade Representative. Washington, D.C. 6

9 The Center for North American Studies is a project of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, New Mexico State University, and Texas Tech University, funded by United States Department of Agriculture, Federal Administration Grant # For further information, please contact the Center for North American Studies by phone at (979) or by at For information on this publication, please contact Lynn Kennedy, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, (225)

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