While Brazil is still abiding by the 90 day extension of the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for ethanol announced last month, talks with the United States to eliminate the tariff stalled last week and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is asking President Trump to take action.
In a letter to the president, RFA called on President Trump to move forward in seeking fairness in ethanol trade policy with Brazil, citing his August pledge to consider reciprocity with respect to Brazilian ethanol imports and reminded him of a commitment from the U.S. Trade Representative in September to “ensure that the ethanol industries in both countries will be treated fairly.”
“Unfortunately, it does not appear that any further progress is being made toward elimination of Brazil’s protectionist ethanol trade policies and restoration of the previous free and fair ethanol trade relationship we enjoyed with Brazil,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Instead, it appears likely that Brazil will allow its temporary tariff-free quota to expire again on December 14, at which time a 20 percent (or higher) tariff could be applied to all ethanol imports from the United States.”
RFA says it has become clear that Brazil no longer shares the American industry’s desire for free and open biofuel markets. Thus, the association is urging the administration to move forward with reciprocal tariffs on ethanol imports from Brazil.
According to RFA, imports of Brazilian ethanol have surged in recent months, with new shipments appearing at U.S. ports in nine of the past 12 weeks. Year-to-date imports of Brazilian ethanol exceed the same period in 2019 by 15 percent and are at a seven-year high. At the same time, no U.S. fuel ethanol has been shipped to Brazil since May.