via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
Commerce Secretary and U.S. Chamber of
Commerce question need for tariff
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The 54-cents-per-gallon ethanol import tariff
will be discussed during a trip to Brazil this week by U.S. Commerce Secretary
Carlos Gutierrez, who will meet with Brazilian government and industry officials
for bilateral trade talks.
"We have had very candid discussions" with Brazil on
the (ethanol import tariff) subject and "the administration has
been very clear about our desire to revisit those tariffs," Gutierrez
During the 2008 Farm Bill, the import tariff was extended
through 2010. "They are part of the farm bill, so to reduce
them or eliminate them would require Congress to act," Gutierrez
said. Acknowledging that it will be "tough to have that happen
in the near future,” he said the tariff equates to a "tax
on U.S. consumers" that is negatively impacting access to alternative
sources of energy.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
in a report, said the tariffs are designed to block ethanol imports at
a time when the country needs to need to be securing new sources of energy.
The Chamber's Blueprint for Securing America's Energy
Future highlights the need for free-flowing trade when it comes renewable
fuels and stresses the 54-cents-per-gallon tariff is an impediment. "This
poses a significant obstacle to ethanol imports," the report said.
"As the biofuels market here in the United States grows and
matures to meet (government requirements) we should seek also to 'commoditize'
biofuels and help create an international market to increase their trade
by harmonizing fuel standards," the report said. "Eventually,
free trade of biofuels should be the goal, and we should be prepared
to reconsider the tariff on imported ethanol as global demand and markets
Comments: Forget about
any near-term cut in the ethanol import tariff. However, even the most
spend-happy lawmaker in next year's Congress will finally realize that
the party is over and instead of increased spending, the agenda will be
what to cut and how much. Included in the eventual "budget reconciliation"
cuts in the years ahead will be farm program and some energy-related
incentives. Count on it.
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retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.