Biofuels: US & Brazil agree to increase world hunger


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

US-Brazil deal to boost bio-fuels

The United States and Brazil have signed an agreement to develop alternative 
fuel sources.

US President George W Bush said that by reducing oil dependence the two 
countries would be helping security, their economies and the environment.

His host, President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, said the deal was a new moment 
for the car industry, fuel production and humanity in general.

On Thursday at least 20 people were hurt in protests at Mr Bush's visit.

Demonstrations continued on Friday, including outside the Hilton Morumbi hotel 
where Mr Bush was staying.

Correspondents say the US president will not have seen any of the protests, but 
a large white balloon with the words "Bush out" emblazoned on the side would 
have been visible to him as he went to meet Mr Lula.

Mr Bush will also go to Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico during his 
six-day tour of Latin America.

Coinciding with Mr Bush's visit to Uruguay, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is 
visiting Argentina, where he is expected to hurl insults at Mr Bush at a rally 
in a football stadium in Buenos Aires.

'Strategic partnership'
Mr Bush and Mr Lula met at a fuel distribution plant in Sao Paulo.

We see the bright and real potential for our citizens being able to use 
alternative sources of energy that will promote the common good

President Bush

The meeting came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brazilian Foreign
Minister Celso Amorim signed a deal making ethanol an internationally traded 
commodity and promoting its production in Central America and the Caribbean.

It will pool the experience and technology of the two countries, who are the 
world's biggest producers of ethanol.

"We come to celebrate a strategic partnership between the United States and 
Brazil," Mr Lula said as the two men toured the plant.

They said that increasing bio-fuel use would lead to more jobs, a cleaner 
environment and less dependence on oil.

"We see the bright and real potential for our citizens being able to use 
alternative sources of energy that will promote the common good," Mr Bush said.

But the two men disagreed over the 54-cent per gallon US tariff on ethanol, 
which Mr Bush said would remain until 2009.

Together with the US, Brazil produces about 70% of the world's ethanol, a 
bio-fuel made from sugar cane or corn.

Later, the US president defended his country's record in helping Latin American 
countries to fight poverty.

He denied he had neglected the region.

"That may be what people say but it's certainly not what the facts bear out," 
Bush said. "We care about our neighbourhood a lot."

He said he was hopeful that the two countries could soon reach agreement in the 
long dispute over global trade rules.

Rainforest fears

On Thursday, about 10,000 people spilled out along one of San Paulo's broadest 
avenues, in the heart of the financial district, banging drums, waving red flags
and carrying banners reading "Bush Go Home".

It is time we stopped stereotyping the US as a ghastly empire and started 
negotiating with them... Move on!

Sandra Sena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Although largely peaceful, clashes flared between some of the protesters and 
police. At least 20 people, most of them police, were injured.

Activists are protesting against ethanol production, saying that sugar cane 
cultivation is water intensive and responsible for stripping the Amazon 

Many of the demonstrators are also angry at the war in Iraq.

The BBC's Lourdes Heredia in Sao Paulo says that while the majority of people in
the city are suspicious of the visit they seem ready to give President Bush a 

"Bush is not a close friend, but he is not our enemy either... I think we should
have good relationships with everyone," shopkeeper Anne Helene told the BBC.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/03/09 22:18:45 GMT


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