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February 14, 2006
  Contact: Matt Englehart
(202) 482-3809



Valentine's Day sweetness comes at a price for an industry that employs nearly 1 million Americans. The Commerce Department today reported that more than 10,000 jobs were lost between 1997 and 2002 at sugar-consuming companies, such as confectioneries. The study suggests high sugar costs are a major factor in U.S. companies' decisions to relocate to other countries.

"We are seeing U.S. jobs move to countries that don't have the competitive disadvantage of high sugar prices that we face in the United States," said Under Secretary for U.S. Trade Franklin L. Lavin. "To compete and win in the world economy, we must lift the price burden for U.S. businesses that use sugar as a product ingredient."

Findings in the study include:

  • For every sugar growing and harvesting job saved through high U.S. sugar prices, approximately three confectionery-manufacturing jobs are lost.
  • For the confectionery industry in particular, evidence suggests that high U.S. sugar costs are a major factor in relocation decisions. In 2004, the price of U.S. refined sugar was 23.5 cents per pound compared to the world price at 10.9 cents.
  • Many U.S. sugar-containing products manufacturers have closed or relocated to locations where sugar prices are less than half of the U.S. price.

The House report accompanying the Commerce Department's fiscal year 2005 appropriations bill directed the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a study on the relationship between jobs and the differential between the U.S. price and world price of sugar. The full text of the Employment Changes in U.S. Food Manufacturing: The Impact of Sugar Prices can be found at

/media/Publications/pdf/sugar06.pdf .

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