U.S. President George W. Bush's brother Jeb Bush said on Tuesday that an increase in Brazilian ethanol output will not necessarily threaten international food supplies.
We are convinced that Brazil is capable of increasing its production of sugar and ethanol from sugarcane without threatening food supplies, Bush said.
He also told Brazilian legislators that he expects U.S. government to reduce or eliminate its 2.5 percent tariff on ethanol in several years and ethanol to become a key product on the international biofuel market. The United States hopes to create a "robust world market" for alternative fuels, Bush said..
The former governor of Florida state made the remarks during a visit to the Brazilian Congress in response to the boycott by Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro of a deal aimed at raising the production of ethanol worldwide as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Castro and Chavez, leaders of Cuba and Venezuela, said they were concerned that people might starve if more agricultural land is used to produce crops for energy instead of food.
Bush argued that increased production of ethanol might cause problems in countries like USA that use corn as the raw material but Brazil is immunized as it makes ethanol from sugarcane. He also said that the U.S. government intends to invest 1.6 billion U.S. dollars to address the problems.
Brazil is the world's largest ethanol exporter with an annual production of 17 billion liters. It is expected that the annual output will be further increased to 24 billion liters by 2010. Production of ethanol in the U.S. stands at 18 billion liters per year.