July 28,2009

Press Contact:

Jill Kozeny, 202/224-1308

Jill Gerber 202/224-6522

Grassley Seeks Clarification of U.S. Stance on Ethanol Tariff Before Nominee for Ambassador to Brazil Moves Forward

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is seeking clarification of the White House’s position on keeping the U.S. tariff on imported ethanol after a statement in favor of lifting the tariff from the President’s nominee for ambassador to Brazil.

“As a senator and as a presidential candidate, President Obama supported keeping the U.S. tariff on imported ethanol,” Grassley said. “Now, the President’s nominee for ambassador to Brazil says the removal of the tariff would be ‘beneficial.’ It’s important to know whether the Administration’s position has changed before this nomination goes forward.”

Grassley wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk to seek a clarification of comments from Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., to be ambassador to Brazil, made during a nomination hearing earlier this month. Grassley has long argued that the U.S. tariff on imported ethanol is appropriate. Brazil – another major ethanol producer in addition to the United States – already can import ethanol tariff-free to the United States through Caribbean countries as part of a separate trade preferences program. The tariff- free treatment is subject to a cap, which Brazil has never come close to meeting.

Grassley is ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over international trade. The text of Grassley’s letter today follows here.