In a win for the International Dairy Foods Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans to increase the raw sugar tariff rate quota (TRQ) by 200,000 tons for fiscal year 2010. IDFA has been aggressively urging USDA to increase the quota. However, the level of TRQ increase announced last week falls well below what IDFA says is needed to ease sugar prices and supply woes. IDFA, in conjunction with the Sweetener Users Association, has consistently and repeatedly asked USDA to permit roughly 1 million additional short tons raw value of sugar imports.

"IDFA is encouraged by USDA's initial TRQ increase. While this is a good start, we will continue to encourage government officials to increase the raw sugar TRQ by more tonnage so as to better remedy the supply crunch and price spike U.S. sugar users currently face," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president.

Tight sweetener markets have made U.S. refined sugar prices hover at about 54 cents a pound, which is almost double the average world price. IDFA has been reporting on these adverse market conditions since last year. The USDA's modest TRQ increase will help to bring more raw sugar into the United States. However, more imports are needed to properly address the tight market situation.

In addition to this TRQ increase, the U.S. Trade Representative also reallocated nearly 90,000 metric tons of unused FY2010 raw sugar. The reallocation of these sugar quotas will be to countries that can fill them and provide the U.S. market with much-needed additional sugar supplies.

About IDFA:
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion-a-year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

Contact:Peggy Armstrong