USTR Tai Insists Efforts Underway to Ease Brazil Ethanol Tariffs

It’s a long-running affair, but U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai insists Brazil is taking seriously U.S. efforts to get it to ease its protectionist tariffs on American ethanol. Where’s the relief, one Midwest senator asked, pointing out Brazil increased its duties on imported ethanol this year from 16 to 18 percent while sending its ethanol here tariff-free.

U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai says she is in active talks with the Brazilians. She says, “We are, in coordination with USDA, including at political levels, actively engaging with our counterparts in Brazil on market access barriers to U.S. ethanol, including those tariffs and regulatory barriers that you’re talking about.”

Brazil reimposed its tariff on imported U.S. ethanol early last year. Ten senators wrote President Biden to oppose the move in face-to-face talks with Brazil’s president. Some charge he never raised the issue. Tai insists she’s now raising it directly. Tai says, “My latest engagement with my Brazilian counterpart, which happened about a month and a half ago, the Brazilians indicated to us that they understood at all levels, including from the White House, the prioritization of this issue with them, how important to us and our economy.”

Tai’s office is part of the executive branch, and she sits on the president’s cabinet. Brazil suspended its original 20 percent ethanol import tariff for January last year, but before and since then has sought to protect its market.

The issue, heating up in an election year, is one of many trade fights the U.S. is waging, including against Mexico’s GMO corn ban and Canada’s limits on U.S. dairy imports.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau Washington