Government Quotas Raise U.S. Sugar Price from 17 Cents a Pound to 31 Cents a Pound

Every semester in my principles of microeconomics course, I show the students a wonderful old 60 Minutes segment on the U.S. government’s sugar quotas program. I tell them, alas, that the policy is still the same. Below is recent evidence:

(p. C1) . . . , U.S. sugar farmers have successfully blocked efforts to significantly increase imports, assuring them of little price competition.

Restrictions on imports have caused American users to pay much more than the rest of the world for sugar. That gap recently blew out to its widest in a decade.
Mr. Vilsack’s comments raised the prospect of increased demand for global sugar and drove prices up 2.7%, or 0.44 cent, to 16.98 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. Prices for U.S. domestic sugar dropped 2.1%, to 30.8 cents a pound. That narrowed the gap between the two to 13.82 cents a pound.

For the full story, see:
CAROLYN CUI and BILL TOMSON , ILAN BRAT. “USDA Says It May Relax Sugar Quotas For This Year.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., APRIL 14, 2010): C1 & C2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the title of the online version of the article is “USDA Says It May Relax Sugar Quotas.”)

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