WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As has been understood by Congress time and again, removing the secondary tariff on imported ethanol is bad policy. The tariff exists as a protection for American taxpayers from having to subsidize foreign sugar and ethanol production. Removing it, therefore, would force taxpayers to support sugar plantations in Brazil, for example.

During his confirmation process, President Obama's nominee for Ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, has stated that removing the tariff would be "beneficial." As the official voice of the United States in Brazil, Mr. Shannon has subsequently stated that he will support the position of the Obama Administration. In light of this confusion, the RFA applauds Senator Chuck Grassley's effort to seek clarity on this important issue in his letter to the Obama Administration.

"During his tenure in the U.S. Senate and as a presidential candidate, President Obama has been a strong supporter of America's evolving ethanol industry," said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. "Our industry has long appreciated the support of the President and look forward to working with him to bring next generation biofuel technologies to the marketplace. Removing the tariff would have a chilling impact on the development of next generation technologies and unfairly require Americans to subsidize foreign industry."

In October prior to last year's election, a representative from then-Senator Obama's campaign told the radio program AgriTalk:

"The whole point of the [secondary tariff] is to build a domestic industry that will achieve energy independence for this program while creating thousands of jobs and injecting capital into rural economies. All that progress would be undermined if we became dependent on imported biofuels. So this tariff is an important measure to continue to allow our domestic industry to mature and compete with subsidized energy products from around the world. But for the near future we think the tariff has a role in maintaining a vibrant renewable fuel policy that creates jobs and economic value here in America."

SOURCE: Renewable Fuels Association.