Sometimes, we all need friendly reminders. Our favorite World Cup soccer players get reminded on the field to play by the rules, and we often get reminded about our commitments. Commitments to our family, commitments to our friends, and commitments to our international trading partners.
The United States has commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO member countries have trade obligations, such as commitments to nondiscrimination in terms of product origin.
So consider this blog post a friendly reminder to Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) who last week introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the current conventional ethanol requirements under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and limit the biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and cellulosic biofuel volumes to domestic production only.
By discriminating against foreign biofuel manufacturers, this legislation would violate important American commitments to the WTO.
The bill would also limit America’s access to clean renewable fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent or more. One such advanced renewable fuel is made from Brazilian sugarcane – an affordable and low-carbon biofuel that brings consumers cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better performance and a lower dependence on oil.
The United States and Brazil are the world’s top two biofuel exporters, and both nations enjoy the economic and environmental benefits of global trade in renewable fuels. But not everyone is aware of this long-lasting and mutually beneficial trading history. So consider it another friendly reminder that the U.S. and Brazil should lead by example in creating a free market for clean, renewable energy.
Legislation that restricts access to advanced biofuels from other countries harms global efforts to develop clean and renewable energy. It also backslides on American commitments to open markets.
Leticia Phillips is UNICA’s Representative for North America. Ms. Phillips is an expert on Brazil-US relations and leads the Brazilian sugarcane industry’s advocacy efforts before the main stakeholders in the region, including the US Congress, Federal agencies, State legislators and business and civil society.