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“Both the domestic price support measures and the import price restrictions reduce consumer welfare in the United States,” Mr. Pearson said. “It’s a net loss to the United States economy.”

Congress does not seem motivated to change the way sugar subsidies are handled.

“The history of sugar in this country goes back to before we were a country, because there were sugar policies in Colonial times,” Mr. Pearson said, noting that sugar production has spread to multiple states and congressional districts across the U.S.

“It’s an industry that has grown up with the country and the industry has grown and it really is politically difficult to walk away from policies that support the industry overnight,” he said.