SAO PAULO (AFP) — Brazil and the United States are seeking to deepen a partnership in energy, especially by promoting biofuels and other alternatives to oil, US Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer said here Wednesday.
But while ethanol biofuel was one of the main topics discussed with officials during his three-day visit to Brazil, there was no change to US import tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, he told reporters.
Those tariffs will "run through to 2010," he said, following the US congress's decision to extend them by two years beyond their planned expiry date at the end of this year.
Brazil, the second-biggest producer of ethanol, after the United States, is lobbying hard for greater access to the US and European markets.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim last week warned that his country may take the US tariff issue to the World Trade Organization.
Brazil's biofuel industry argues that its ethanol, derived from sugarcane, runs cleaner and more efficiently than the US sort, made from corn, and is less of a concern to critics who claim that biofuel production is reducing the amount of farm output dedicated to food production.
Kupfer, who was wrapping up his Brazil trip before heading to Colombia, stressed that Brazil and the United States were looking to "deepen that relationship and partnership" founded in a joint memorandum of understanding on energy production signed in 2003.
He said he and Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao discussed efforts to develop alternatives to energy from oil, including nuclear power.
"We talked about nuclear, something that is being revived in our country," he said.
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