US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim today signed a memorandum of understanding to advance cooperation between the two countries on biofuels. As the world’s two largest producers of ethanol, the United States and Brazil intend to advance the research and development of new technologies to promote biofuels use.
Regionally, the two nations intend to help third countries, beginning in Central America and the Caribbean, to stimulate private investment for local production and consumption of biofuels. The United States and Brazil expect to support feasibility studies and technical assistance in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Foundation, and the Organization of the American States.
Multilaterally, the United States and Brazil intend to work through the recently-launched International Biofuels Forum to examine development of common biofuels standards and codes to facilitate commoditization of biofuels. Greater cooperation with Brazil is complementary to existing United States efforts in the Global Bio-Energy Partnership endorsed by the Group of Eight and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum’s Biofuels Task Force.
The International Biofuels Forum, announced on 2 March 2007, is a joint project of Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United States and the European Commission, and will initially be established for one year. It will meet regularly to discuss ways to promote the sustained use and production of biofuels around the globe. Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the driver behind its formation.
The Forum is not a new international standards organization, but rather a mechanism for closer coordination among the field’s major players to establish common standards and work towards the commoditization of biofuels, so that they might eventually be traded like oil.
The United States and Brazil already are working through existing mechanisms such as the US-Brazil Commercial Dialogue launched in 2006, the US-Brazil Consultative Committee on Agriculture established in 2003, the 1999 US-Brazil Memorandum of Understanding on Energy, the US-Brazil Common Agenda for the Environment established in 1995, and a 1984 Framework Agreement on Science and Technology.
The new US-Brazil cooperation does not include discussions of United States trade, tariffs or quotas.
The signing came during a visit by US President George Bush and President Lula to a Petrobras facility in Guarulhos, State of São Paulo.