Globe and Hemisphere: Latin America's Place in the Postwar Foreign Relations of the United States

By J. Fred Rippy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
SUGAR AND OTHER COMMERCIAL PROBLEMS IN INTER-AMERICAN RELATIONS

INTERNATIONAL relations, hemispheric and global, are characterized by the interaction, by the discords and harmonies, of ideologies and material interests. Economic disagreements often threaten cordial relations based upon common ideals. Involving methods rather than long-term objectives, inter-American disputes regarding barriers to trade, investment, and other economic activities have not been infrequent. The sugar trade will serve as an example.

All the independent countries of Latin America except Chile and Uruguay, and practically all the dependent territories of tropical America as well, produce cane sugar; and most of them could expand their production if larger markets were available. In spite of government limitations on plantings in some of the countries, total output of sugar in this part of the world rose from an annual average of less than 8 million short tons, raw value, in the 1930's to a yearly average of nearly 14 million short tons in the early 1950's.

The natural foreign market for the sugar of the region, especially the immense portion of it lying north of Chile and Paraguay, is the United States, the world's biggest consumer of sugar. With a per-capita utilization of almost 100 pounds per annum during recent decades, the people of this country consumed over 157.2 million short tons, raw value, during the years 1934 1955, an annual average in excess of 7 million short tons; and they might have consumed considerably more if they had not been hampered by individual rationing during the war period and by other limitations. Aggregate consumption for the years

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