LaHood leads effort to protect U.S. ethanol by addressing unfair Brazilian tariffs

Reinstated import tariffs by Brazil on American ethanol will harm U.S. agriculture and biofuel production, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) warned in a recent letter he led to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai.

Brazil reinstated an import tariff on U.S. ethanol on Feb. 1, setting a tariff rate of 16 percent in 2023 and 18 percent in 2024, the May 31 letter stated, noting that Brazilian ethanol exports receive duty-free treatment in the U.S. market. U.S. exports of ethanol to Brazil had received duty-free treatment since March 2022.

Rep. LaHood, along with a bipartisan group of colleagues, underscored in the letter to the USTR the importance of ethanol production for rural communities. U.S. biofuel production supports 555,000 American jobs, and the ethanol exported is worth about $4 billion.

“Brazil’s unfair treatment of U.S. exports and the unlevel playing field for American ethanol could displace American ethanol and harm the rural communities we represent,” Rep. LaHood and his colleagues wrote.

Furthermore, U.S. ethanol producers have not been approved for Brazil’s RenovaBio biofuel program, while in America, Brazilian ethanol producers have access to the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program.

“We believe the double layer issue of a tariff imbalance and an impenetrable RenovaBio is unjustified and puts American ethanol and farmers at risk,” the members of Congress wrote.” We strongly urge you to prioritize American ethanol export competitiveness in the Brazilian market by addressing these unfair policies.”

Along with Rep. LaHood, the bipartisan letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Mike Bost (R-IL), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Angie Craig (D-MN), among others.