U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Adrian Smith (NE-03) spearheaded a bipartisan letter urging U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to prioritize Brazilian trade barriers to U.S. ethanol during ongoing US-Brazil trade negotiations. Reps. LaHood and Smith both serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. LaHood is co-chair of the U.S.-Brazil Caucus.
The letter calls for a “level playing field for U.S. ethanol,” which faces prohibitive 20 percent tariff on imports beyond a specified quota.
“Specifically, we request that you urge your Brazilian counterparts to terminate the ethanol tariff rate quota (TRQ) and prohibitive 20% tariff on out-of-quota imports, and instead reinstate the zero-duty exemption for U.S. ethanol from Brazil’s Common External Tariff that was in effect from 2012 to 2017,” wrote the lawmakers. “Brazil’s inequitable treatment of U.S. ethanol creates economic strain throughout the U.S. ethanol industry, especially during a year in which COVID-19 is devastating fuel demand in our country. The United States, however, continues to provide ethanol imports from Brazil virtually tariff-free access to the U.S. market. Last year, the U.S. imported 250 million gallons worth $596 million. Brazil must end this unfairness by eliminating its TRQ.”