RFA Calls on President Trump to Level the Playing Field for Ethanol Exports to Brazil

Source: By Ken Colombini, RFA • Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Renewable Fuels Association yesterday called on President Trump to move forward in seeking reciprocity and fairness in ethanol trade policy with Brazil. In a letter to the president, the association highlighted 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.

“The impacts of the unlevel playing field for ethanol trade have become painfully apparent in recent months,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper wrote. “U.S. imports of Brazilian ethanol have surged, 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.” The surge of ethanol imports from Brazil shows no signs of slowing down in the remaining months of 2020, Cooper said. Meanwhile, no U.S. fuel ethanol has been shipped to Brazil since May.

RFA concluded by thanking the president for his efforts to pursue a level playing field and reciprocal treatment with respect to ethanol trade, noting that the association stands ready to work with him and his administration to secure fair and equal trade with Brazil.