An Illinois Congressman is working to reform sugar pricing policies in the United States.

Congressman Robert Dold (R-Ill.), the primary sponsor of The Free Sugar Act (H.R. 1739), will lead a roundtable discussion tomorrow about the high cost of sugar as well as the impact of the current U.S. sugar program on consumers.

The Free Sugar Act would reform the pricing methods for sugar in the United States, where it currently is subject to price control, tariffs, and import quotas.

“The U.S. sugar program supports sugar producers at the expense of Illinois families and employers and it must be reformed,” Dold says. “Congress should no longer maintain an old and inefficient policy that destroys good-paying American jobs.”

Dold points to U.S. Department of Commerce data, which shows that an estimated 112,000 jobs were lost in American sugar-using industries between 1997-2009.

“Small bakers and confectioners are hurt most by the current U.S. sugar program by denying access to the competitive world sugar market,” Dold explains. “Moreover, families across the state of Illinois and across the country pay a hidden tax on all sugar-containing products. By eliminating U.S. sugar price controls and quotas, Congress can reverse this wasteful policy.”

Dold’s bill is co-sponsored by Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) and is a companion to Senate Bill 685, introduced by Sen. Ricahrd Lugar of Indiana.

The Coalition for Sugar Reform and Jelly Belly will host the round table discussion- where Dold is slated to meet with small business owners, local bakers and confectioners - at the Jelly Belly facility in North Chicago.

“We are pleased to welcome Congressman Dold and our colleagues in the baking and confectionery industry for a frank discussion,” says Bill Kelley, vice chairman of Jelly Belly Candy Co. “We are grateful to the Congressman for his leadership to protect small businesses against high sugar prices that eliminate thousands of American jobs and cause plants and factories to move off-shore.”

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