Sweden calls for tariff-free biofuel trade

Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade, Sten Tolgfors recently used the,Taipei Times (where else) to call for the global trade in biofuels to be tariff-free.

Sweden’s starting point is the conviction that a more liberal trade regime, coupled with global standards, is needed. As a first measure, Sweden argues for the elimination of all tariffs on ethanol.

Apart from environmental considerations, there are other important benefits of expanding world trade in biofuels. Generally, international trade is a strong instrument for development. Several developing nations have a comparative advantage in producing ethanol — and other biofuels, for that matter. Brazil, which is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of ethanol, is a case in point.

But there are other developing countries that are exporters of biofuels, and still others that view it as an important source of future income. Trade policy should support, not undermine, these countries’ ambitions.

Is there anyone from the heartlands reading this and agreeing with Tolgfors? Because that is the group that needs to be convinced that protectionism is a bad idea, not US drivers.

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