Brazil sugarcane growers lash out at US diplomat

13 July 2009 23:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Brazilian sugarcane industry association Unica on Monday accused a top US diplomat of saying Brazil does not yet produce enough ethanol to meet large-scale export demand.

Unica said Brazil could meet growing ethanol demand at home and increase its exports if more foreign demand for the biofuel existed.

Unica alleged US assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs Thomas A. Shannon said during a US Senate meeting last week that Brazil did not produce enough ethanol to meet large-scale export demand.

Shannon has been nominated to become the next US ambassador to Brazil.

Unica alleged the US diplomat said the elimination of the 54 cent/gal US tariff on Brazilian ethanol would improve US energy security and mitigate global warming, but would have no immediate affect because Brazil cannot yet export ethanol in large volumes.

Unica said Brazil could meet growing ethanol demand at home and increase its exports if more foreign demand for the biofuel existed.

Brazil is not exporting more ethanol now because of trade barriers that are imposed on biofuels but not on crude oil,” the Brazilian association said.

A spokesperson at the US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brazil is the world’s top exporter of ethanol, while the US is the largest consumer of the biofuel.

While Brazil has successfully displaced more than 50% of its gasoline demand with ethanol, its gasoline market is small compared with 150bn gal/year consumed in the US.

Brazil in 2008 exported 1.35bn gal of ethanol, according to the Brazilian foreign trade ministry.

The US consumed 8.00bn gal of the biofuel based on the data from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

For more on ethanol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels


By: William Lemos
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