The U.S. Ethanol industry wants U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to suspend Brazil’s designated country status under the Generalized System of Preferences. The groups want Lighthizer to make the move against Brazil because of its “protectionist and market-distorting actions in implementing a Tariff Rate Quota on American ethanol imports.”
The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the U.S. Grains Council all signed the letter that was sent to Lighthizer. RFA president and CEO Bob Dineen says Brazil imposed a trade quota of 150 million gallons of U.S. ethanol a year. “We had been shipping close to 500 million gallons a year,” Dinneen says, “and they also imposed a 20 percent tariff over the quota.”
He calls the move particularly “galling” as Brazil is the third-largest beneficiary of GPS-eligible trade at more than $2.2 billion per year. Dinneen says that’s driven a $276 billion-dollar trade deficit in agricultural products and ethanol with Brazil. The industry groups will be submitting a petition to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in the near future.