Candy industry calls for $500 million in federal assistance

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The National Confectioners Association (NCA) called on the White House and Congress on Thursday to establish a recovery fund of $500 million to pay employees, maintain overhead expenses and meet existing financial obligations to support the candy industry through the coronavirus pandemic.

NCA CEO John Downs wrote a letter to President Trump and congressional leadership requesting the fund, as well as that food manufacturing facilities and facilities that produce supplies essential to food production, are exempt from gathering bans and curfews.

Additionally, NCA asked for no-interest and low-interest loan assistance, expanded unemployment insurance to temporarily laid off employees, and suspended payroll tax collection.

Confections are produced in all 50 states and the industry directly employees about 54,000 workers in more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities. More than 600,000 of Americans rely on the industry for some or all of their income.

“Right now, these companies are confronting unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 global pandemic, combined with the existing strains placed on our industry by short supply of sugar and the artificially high domestic sugar price, has exacerbated pressures on the economic health of our industry,” Downs wrote. 

Downs stressed that small confectionery producers operate on narrow margins already and employ 250 people or fewer. 

He added that the industry’s small manufacturers are concerned about rent and payroll, preventing layoffs and dealing with frozen supply chains.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also asked the government to designate that manufacturing supply chains be exempt from gathering bans, as did the National Retail Federation (NRF) for pet stores, distribution centers, transportation logistic companies and truck drivers, among other retail stores.

Other industries are also seeking relief because of quarantines and closures due to the coronavirus.

The franchise industry, through the International Franchise Association (IFA) on Thursday asked for the creation of a $300 billion fund to provide liquidity to franchises struggling through the coronavirus pandemic and the manufacturing industry, through NAM, asked for the creation of a $1.4 trillion fund for loans to provide liquidity to manufacturers and small businesses.

The retail industry, through the NRF, asked for a direct, government-based loan program, and the restaurant industry, through National Restaurant Association, called for financial relief, loans and tax measures to help it combat the crisis. 

Earlier this week, the airline industry, through Airlines for America, requested $50 billion in the form of grants, loans and tax relief to weather the coronavirus downturn. And the tourism industry, through the U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, called for $150 billion in overall relief. 

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