US biofuel producers are calling on the country’s government to develop an “immediate response” to the newly implemented Brazilian import tariffs on American ethanol.

Comprising ethanol trade associations Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the US Grains Council (USGC), the group asked the government to immediately engage the Brazilian administration on “the future of [their] relationship with regard to biofuels”.

On 23 August, Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade (CAMEX) imposed a two-year tariff rate quota (TRQ) system on US ethanol, under which a 20% import duty would become applicable after a 600M-litre quota was met.

“It is vital that the administration take immediate action and consider all avenues to encourage Brazil to either revoke the TRQ or substantially increase the TRQ level to better reflect the current ethanol market and trade realities,” the USGC said in a statement on 7 September.

Furthermore, it called Brazil’s decision the latest step in the “troubling” global trend of protectionist tariffs and other actions against the American biofuels industry.

“Brazil’s recent protectionist actions are turning back the clock to an era of isolationism and inefficient global trade,” said RFA CEO and president Bob Dinneen.

He added that the trade policy would not harm only US ethanol producers, but also Brazilian consumers through higher fuel prices.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said Brazil actions undermined the zero-ethanol tariff that had been in effect between the USA and Brazil for “several years” and that the move damaged the two countries’ efforts to expand global ethanol trade and demand.

“President Trump has been a strong supporter of America’s biofuels producers and decisive action to defend this crucial domestic industry will be a clear reminder of the administration’s continued commitment to strengthen the American economy,” Skor said.