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Sugarcane Ethanol Producers Respond to Senate Vote Preserving Import Tariff

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WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2011 - The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s 40-59 vote against proceeding with consideration of an amendment offered by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would end the ethanol tax credit and import tariff created in 1980.  This statement should be attributed to Leticia Phillips, UNICA’s Representative in North America.

Though we are disappointed that procedural concerns kept the Coburn-Feinstein amendment from passing, the final vote tally demonstrates significant support for reforming U.S. ethanol policy and would likely have passed if Democrats procedural concerns were addressed.  So while the Senate missed an opportunity today to help lower fuel prices and provide Americans with greater access to clean and affordable renewable fuels like sugarcane ethanol, the campaign to end this unfair ethanol tariff will continue to gain momentum.

Tax credits and trade barriers possibly made sense in 1980 to foster the nascent ethanol industry, and the policies have unquestionably worked. America's corn ethanol has blossomed into a thriving business with booming exports to other countries and now accounts for half of all ethanol produced around the globe. But 30 years later, the time has come to remove the industry's training wheels and promote market competition.

Brazil ended government subsidies for ethanol more than a decade ago and eliminated its ethanol tariff early last year. It is time for the United States to do the same. As the world's top producers of ethanol, the U.S. and Brazil should lead by example in creating a free market for clean, renewable energy.

Consumers win when businesses have to compete in an open market, because competition produces higher quality products at lower costs. The same principle holds true for renewable fuels.  Allowing other alternative fuels like sugarcane ethanol to compete fairly in the U.S. would save Americans money, cut dependence on Middle East oil and improve the environment.

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The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing nearly two-thirds of all sugarcane production and processing in the country. For further information, please visit


Contact: Carolina Lessa


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Ana Carolina Lessa
Public Affairs, North America
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