- Mar 9, 2007
Bush ready to sign biofuels deal with Brazil, world's largest ethanol producer
Bush is currently visiting South America, and on his stop in Brazil, the ethanol-partnership that we've heard about before is about to be signed. In February, the deal for the "energy partnership" was the the two countries would share biofuel technologies. U.S. Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns visited Brazil in early February to pave the way for Bush's visit, and discussed ethanol standards and building a joint ethanol plant in the Caribbean with Brazilian officials.
Today, the news out of Sao Paolo is that the $8 billion ethanol agreement is officially a go. Even though the 54-cent per gallon tariff that the United States imposes on Brazilian ethanol to subsidize American corn ethanol is not up for discussion, Bush said, the new deal doesn't please everyone back in America. Two Republican Senators, South Dakota Senator John Thune and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, have both spoken out against the deal. The Renewable Fuels Association is saying yes to a global ethanol market, but no to "allowing Brazil to benefit from the U.S. tax credit for ethanol," according to Domestic Fuel.
Demonstrators in Brazil spoke out against the agreement because "increased ethanol production could lead to social unrest because most operations are run by wealthy families or corporations that reap the profits, while the poor are left to cut the cane with machetes."
The other side of the story is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and his piles of oil money, is also touring South America to build support for his anti-Bush, more socialist vision.
The AP (on Yahoo!) says the protesters in Brazil are worried that the new agreement could lead to "an OPEC-like cartel on ethanol." Very few people waved at Bush's motorcade as it rolled through Sao Paolo, the AP said.
So who's for this deal?