U.S. ethanol stakeholder organizations are less than thrilled that Brazil’s tariff-rate quota (TRQ) has been extended now for another 90 days, but they are hopeful continued discussions will lead to a resumed free trade situation with that country.
“The Renewable Fuels Association, U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and the National Corn Growers Association believe the 90-day extension of the TRQ serves neither Brazil’s consumers nor the Brazilian government’s own decarbonization goals, especially while Brazil’s ethanol producers continue to be afforded virtually tariff-free access to the U.S. market. The extension falls during Brazil’s annual inter-harvest period when U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil are traditionally low, causing greater uncertainty for U.S. exporters looking to make selling decisions now for the traditionally higher Brazilian demand in the winter months. While the Brazilian ethanol market has not been fully reopened to imports, we appreciate the continued support and efforts of the U.S. government as we use this 90-day period to aggressively pursue an open and mutually beneficial ethanol trading relationship with Brazil.
“The U.S. ethanol industry actively sought, through repeated dialogue with local industry and government, to illustrate the negative impacts of tariffs on Brazilian consumers and the Brazilian government’s own decarbonization goals. However, it seems Brazil’s government has left its own consumers to pay the price through higher fuel costs once again. While we would have preferred Brazil abandon its ethanol import tariffs entirely and resume its free trade posture on ethanol, which it held for several years before the TRQ, we view its decision to temporarily extend the TRQ on ethanol at the current level as an opportunity to continue discussions toward that end.”
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings agrees. “While an extension is better than the flat 20 percent tariff on all U.S. exports, this merely kicks the can down the road past the election and can be added to the list of piling uncertainties facing our industry. We have been trying to restore demand at home and around the world and in a year like 2020, finding growth opportunities are of the utmost importance.” said Jennings. “The TRQ unnecessarily limits our export potential and we hope further negotiations will ultimately make it easier for producers to pursue free and fair trade for ethanol in the future.”