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SUGAR INDUSTRY BLASTS NAFTA ACCORD AS 'TIME BOMB'

 SUGAR INDUSTRY BLASTS NAFTA ACCORD AS 'TIME BOMB'
 "U.S. trade representatives, who conducted negotiations under a


shroud of secrecy, have reached a NAFTA agreement that is nothing more than a time bomb with a six-year fuse for the American sugar industry," according to a domestic sugar industry official.
 Van Olsen, president of the U.S. Beet Sugar Association and incoming chairman for the American Sugar Alliance, said, "The administration, in its haste to get an agreement -- apparently at any cost -- has not only signed away the future health of the American sugar industry but has set the stage for substantial damage to 40 other traditional sugar-trading partners who have imported sugar to the United States."
 He went on to say, "Although we have not been permitted to see detailed language of the agreement which so vitally affects us, reports about the agreement lead us to declare it totally unacceptable to the industry."
 Olsen said, "The NAFTA agreement has the potential of undermining the no-cost provision of the current law passed by Congress. It will further weaken the domestic industry after year six when Mexico, which is now a net importer of sugar, will be encouraged to ship sugar unrestricted into the U.S."
 Olsen said, "One has to question why this administration would enter into an agreement that causes significant damage to a thriving, successful domestic industry, and an agreement that at the same time is a slap in the face to our other trading partners."
 Under the U.S. sugar program, which operates by law and at no cost to the taxpayer, the U.S. imports about 25 percent of its annual sugar needs from 40 quota-holding countries. As Mexico's import restriction are lifted, there would be less need for sugar from other countries who have historically supplied the U.S.
 Olsen said he fully expects the U.S. sugar industry to exert all the influence it can to have the sugar provision of the NAFTA agreement altered or defeated in congress.
 CONTACT: Joseph Terrell of the American Sugar Alliance, 202-457-1438, or 808-661-1234, room 1815.
 -0- 8/12/92


CO: American Sugar Alliance ST: District of Columbia IN: FOD SU:

TS -- NY001 -- 9232 08/12/92 08:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 12, 1992
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