Senator Brian Schatz joined his Senate colleagues in voting against a harmful amendment for domestic sugar producers. The repeal of the sugar program would have created significant hardships for Hawaii's sole remaining sugar producer, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S).
Sugar producers and processors contribute $20 billion in economic activity, and are responsible for 142,000 American jobs.
"Today, the United States Senate saved the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, which is the state's sole producer of raw and special sugar, and is critical to Maui's workforce and economy," said Senator Brian Schatz. "HC&S provides $56 million in wages to 800 Maui residents that have served as a cornerstone of this company and community for decades. I thank my Senate colleagues for helping save jobs in Hawaii and protecting nearly $250 million in revenue that is produced by the company."
HC&S -- a company that has supported its community for almost 150 years -- supports 800 men and women in full-time employment with over $56 million in wages, and has multiple generations of employees. Sugar is one of the oldest industries in Hawaii and it remains an important contributor to Hawaii's economy. Based on a conservative multiplier, the estimated impact on the Hawaii economy is $250 million.
A repeal of the U.S. sugar loan program would be devastating for HC&S and would have a large impact on the local Maui and broader state economies. The "floor" that the program provides growers is critical to staying competitive with foreign governments who subsidize their growers and dump sugar onto the world and domestic markets. The elimination of this program would result in numerous U.S. sugar growers, including HC&S, from shutting down or significantly reducing their operations.