A new group called the Bioenergy Alliance (BEA) will launch in Miami tomorrow with the goal of expanding Brazilian ethanol exports to the U.S, Mexico and Guatemala. Currently, all ethanol that is imported to the U.S. - hundreds of millions of gallons a year - is subject to a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff. While the announcement by FMC Agricultural Products (pasted after the jump) doesn't specifically mention the tariff, when you have representatives of Petrobras and the founders of the Inter-American Ethanol Commission - former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former minister of agriculture of Brazil, Roberto Rodrigues - together on a panel, you can bet the topic will come up. FMC points out that definitively designating ethanol as a commodity is an important first step in increasing Brazil's export. What is ethanol currently designated as, does anyone know?

Press Release:

Brazilian Ethanol Seeks Market in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala

SAO PAULO, Brazil, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- FMC will be launching the Bioenergy Alliance (BEA) in Miami, an important event starting April 6 that will gather together leading businessman and political figures in ethanol from the Americas on a tour through the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. The event seeks to strengthen the actions and initiatives of its clients in the international ethanol market. A major challenge to be met in this regard is the definitive designation of ethanol as a commodity, a fundamental step for conquering new markets.

The first panel will take place in Miami on Sunday, April 6, at 4:00 p.m. Among important politicians and businessmen present will be the founders of the Inter-American Ethanol Commission, Jeb Bush and former minister of agriculture of Brazil, Roberto Rodrigues. The panel will address Brazil-U.S. relations and their potential future development. Also in attendance will be Petrobras, factory owners, sugarcane growers and Brazilian businessmen from the sector.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), author of several studies on opportunities in ethanol, will also be present. Roberto Rodrigues will present Brazilian expectations in the area, above all the importance of opening markets, one of Brazil's objectives. Although Brazil produces close to 40% of world ethanol, it exports only 13% of production. Following the first panel in Miami, the group will travel to Mexico City for the second day of the event, which will address opportunities for ethanol in the context of NAFTA, and then move on to Guatemala.

The initiative of the FMC, an agricultural products company with US$ 326 million in revenue in 2007 (Brazil), will involve the largest two ethanol producers and technology leaders of the world, Brazil and the United States, which account for 85% of world ethanol production. The Bioenergy Alliance will address not only the question of investment and trade opportunities between the two ethanol leaders, but also possibilities for business expansion of the sugar alcohol sector to Mexico and other countries in Central America. The event will take place over the course of a week in Miami, Mexico City and Guatemala City.

[Source: FMC Agricultural Products]

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