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Sweet Politics

Mondelēz favors sweeter US trade relations with Russia

By Oliver Nieburg+

31-Oct-2012

Russia is among Mondelez's four priority markets
Russia is among Mondelez's four priority markets

Mondelēz International lobbied the US government to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia earlier this year as it set its sights on the developing market.

Global snack company Mondelēz was spun-off from Kraft Foods at the start of this month and announced that the BRIC markets, which includes Russia, would be the geographic priorities for the new company.

Before the split, Kraft spent $1,310,000 in 2012 on lobbying, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Russian relations

Part of its campaigning concerned legislation for the US to assume normal trade relations with Russia.

The U.S. Senate passed laws to permit permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia earlier this year, repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974.

Kraft said in a statement at the time: “This legislation is vital for U.S. companies to realize the full potential of Russia's World Trade Organization commitments.”

“The legislation is needed to ensure U.S. companies are on a level playing field when competing with other global companies in this significant and growing market.”

Mondelēz CEO Irene Rosenfeld said in September that Russia was the second largest BRIC market for Mondelēz with around $1bn in sales last year.

Mondelēz wants improved access to non-US sugar

Kraft Foods has also lobbied on sugar reform this year.

Valérie Moens, associate director, corporate external communications at Mondelēz told ConfectioneryNews.com: “Mondelēz International supports reform of the U.S. sugar program as part of the pending Farm Bill debate in Congress. We would like to see more open access to non-U.S. sugar supplies when domestic sugar production is unable to adequately meet demand. “

The 2012 Farm bill aims to repeal laws from 1981 laws that are based on the principle that supply should not exceed demand in order to keep prices stable.

The current farm bill is due to expire this year and new national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy need to be set.

Lobbyists and shareholders

Five of the 10 lobbyists used by Kraft in 2012 have previously held government jobs

One is lawyer Burleigh Leonard, who previously worked for the White House as a special assistant and was a professional staff member on Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee. Leonard also previously held a position at the National Confectioners & Chocolate Manufacturers Association.

Twenty-two Congressmen hold or have held shares in Kraft Foods, including former presidential candidate John Kerry.