By Erin Voegele
Sept 18, 2017
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to work with the Brazilian government to end a recently reinstated tariff on ethanol imports.
In late August, Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade approved a recommendation to impose a 20 percent tariff on U.S. ethanol imports in excess of 600 million liters (158 million gallons) annually.
According to information released by Grassley’s office, the U.S. exported 264 million gallons of ethanol to Brazil last year. This year, current trends indicate exports to Brazil could be even higher. Grassley cites U.S. producers as stating that Brazil’s tariff plan is “a trade barrier that threatens over $750 million in U.S. exports and American jobs.”
On Sept. 15, the senators sent a letter to Lighthizer, asking him to directly engage the Brazilian government and quickly work to resolve the issue.
“For several years, the U.S. and Brazil have engaged in ethanol trade which signaled the maturing and global nature of the biofuels industry,” wrote the senators in the letter. “However, this new action by Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade indicates a potential turning point in how ethanol moves between our respective countries.”
The letter notes that the U.S. renewable fuels industry has invested heavily in ethanol plants, feedstock development and infrastructure over the past several decades, advancing the industry. Similar investments have also been made in other countries, including Brazil. “Unfortunately, seemingly arbitrary or protectionist tariffs are threatening to disrupt the growing global market that has developed for ethanol,” the letter continues. “We look forward to working with you to address the concerns regarding Brazil’s actions.”
In addition to Grassley, the letter was signed by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb; and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Grassley’s website.
Read the original story here.