JIS News

The ethanol industry received a significant boost on June 21, following news that the United States has approved a bill to retain the current Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) duty regime, and extend it to 2011.
“This is good news for Jamaica.for companies like Jamaica Broilers and others, and great news for persons who want to join the ethanol bandwagon, and surely from the Government’s standpoint we’re going to proceed now with the 60 million gallon expansion,” Minister of Industry Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC), Phillip Paulwell told members of the media during a familiarization tour of the Petrojam refinery in Kingston yesterday (June 22).
He attributed this development to the meeting between Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other Caribbean Prime Ministers that was held with U.S.
President George Bush at the White House in Washington D.C. this week. In that meeting, Mrs. Simpson Miller advocated for the retention and extension of the current Caribbean Basin Initiative arrangements, which allow participating countries like Jamaica preferential access to the U.S. ethanol market.
“I am very pleased that .last night the U.S. Senate has done just that. They have rejected the Gregg Amendment to eliminate ethanol tariff and approve the Thune Amendment. We now have retained the current duty regime and also the U.S. Senate has approved the extension to the year 2011,” Mr. Paulwell explained.
The CBI allows countries such as El Salvador, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica to ship goods such as ethanol into the U.S. duty free. United States Senator John Thune has reportedly been advocating for the retention of the arrangement on the grounds that America should avoid any heavy dependency on foreign fuel producers such as Brazil, the second largest ethanol producer in the world.
The concern is that if Brazil is allowed similar duty free access, it could, with its large ethanol export capacity, cripple America’s own ethanol and alternative fuels industry.

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