Ethanol Tariff Tiff

Cindy Zimmerman

UNICAThe Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association UNICA this week drew attention to conflicting statements made in the past week by Growth Energy representatives about what they would like to see done with the tariff on foreign ethanol that is tied to the blenders tax credit under the Fueling Freedom plan introduced by the organization last week.

In a post on the blog SweeterAlternative and a YouTube video, UNICA noted apparent discrepancies between statements made by Growth Energy Co-Chairman Jeff Broin of POET and fellow co-chair Gen. Wesley Clark.

Growth EnergyIn an interview, Broin said that under an open market “a tariff becomes less important because we would have access to the entire market.” However, he adds that “if Brazil has a tariff, I think the U.S. should have a tariff that’s the same.” During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing this week, Clark said they were “strongly in favor of keeping that tariff in place” adding that “There is absolutely no reason for the United States to trade dependence on foreign oil (for) dependence on foreign produced ethanol.”

Joel Velasco of UNICA writes, “What I find most interesting today is that the two chairmen of Growth Energy seem to have completely different positions on the tariff. Which is it? Does Growth Energy support market competition and consumer choice or not?”

Growth Energy sought to clarify the organization’s position on the tariff in relation to the “Fueling Freedom” plan in a blog post today, saying that the two co-chairmen were talking about different scenarios – with or without an “open market.” “Growth Energy’s position on the tariff has been consistent: it makes no sense to remove the tariff when all we will do is shut down domestic ethanol production,” the post concludes. “However, if lawmakers implement the Fueling Freedom plan and we transition to an open market, the tariff becomes less important.”

Brazil, Ethanol, Exports, Growth Energy, UNICA