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Bush trip puts focus on trade

March 14, 2007

Re "Seal the deal on trade," editorial, March 11

Free trade has not only been devastating for American workers and their unions, it has also impoverished the people of Third World countries. The result is the flood of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. and the election of populist leaders in South America.

While we are trying to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, it would be more useful to encourage all nations to be as self-reliant as possible.


Santa Barbara


Re "Brazil, U.S. to promote biofuels," March 10

The attempt to form a friendship between the U.S. and Brazil to promote biofuels is a double-edged sword. Biofuel is good, but the more crops Brazil plants, the more rain forest Brazil will cut down to have land to plant. We can sell our wheat and corn instead of converting it to biofuel, and we can buy it from Brazil, where ethanol is mainly derived from sugar cane.

But it would be nice if we could create and maintain friendship between the two countries in other ways beside the lucrative dollar signs, and not order biofuel from Brazil.


Huntington Park


Re "Going south," editorial, March 8

President Bush is right not to offer the U.S. ethanol industry as a political poker chip to the Brazilians. You would have us believe that U.S. ethanol policies are at the root of what ails Latin America. That is simply not so. The U.S. makes available a tax incentive for all sources of ethanol, foreign and domestic. To prevent our taxpayer dollars from subsidizing Brazilian ethanol production, a credit offset in the form of a tariff has been put in place.

Brazil's ethanol industry is powered by paying sugarcane field workers less than $10 a day. Moreover, a lack of stringent environmental standards, like those imposed on U.S. ethanol facilities, allows Brazil to more cheaply produce ethanol. The growth of the Brazilian ethanol industry is resulting in sugarcane plantations devouring acres of land used for grain and livestock production. As a result, these industries are destroying rain forests. Developing a world market for ethanol should not come at the expense of the environment, Brazilian workers or U.S. taxpayers.



Renewable Fuels Assn.


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