Issue Position: Trade
Sen. Landrieu on the Senate passage of CAFTA
For our state, sugar is not simply a trade issue; it is a way of life. Now in its third century, Louisiana's $2 billion sugar industry employs 27,000 people in 15 mills, two refineries and nearly 700 farms in 25 parishes. We cannot speak about the trade implications of this treaty without first and foremost acknowledging the devastating impact it could have on Louisiana jobs, families and economy. This ill-advised agreement puts them all at risk.
While Governor Blanco and others work to actively create jobs and expand economic opportunity at home, it is disappointing that the President's policies seem to undermine these efforts. On the heels of White House opposition to coastal impact assistance, we are left to wonder whether this Administration has begun to take Louisiana for granted.
CAFTA increases subsidized sugar imports and will dramatically undermine the critical balance that helps make the U.S. sugar industry profitable. Louisiana sugar growers will give and give, but without any benefits in return. Yet, the President refuses to stand up and fight for these hardworking Americans' jobs. They are instead sacrificed for a pact the Administration's own economists say will increase our trade deficit and barely benefit our economy by one hundredth of one percent.
I support free trade, so long as it is fair - and fair free trade requires that all players operate on as level a playing field as possible, accountable to the same labor laws, environmental standards and governmental intervention. Rest assured, I will continue to advocate for policies that preserve this principle and protect our vital Louisiana industries, the jobs they create and the communities they enrich.