13 April 2006

Latin America Poised To Lead Global Development Of Biofuels

World Economic Forum Session

Latin America is well positioned to become a global leader in biofuels and renewable energy, and the United States and other countries are keen to explore partnerships in the region to develop them.

These ideas emerged from a plenary session on Competing in the Global Economy at the World Economic Forum on Latin America, a two-day gathering of leading figures in government, business, academia and civil society being held in São Paulo, Brazil.

Luiz Fernando Furlan, Minister of Development, Industry and Trade of Brazil, told the gathering that he recently received a delegation from California and is now heading to Japan to discuss initiatives in the biofuel realm. He has also held talks with South African officials to explore the possibility of working with that country to offer biofuel to the rest of Africa. There are at least 50 examples of new investments in sugarcane for biofuel currently being implemented in Brazil, said Furlan. “There may also be possibilities for joint ventures,” he said.

“There is a very serious energy agenda that we can work on together,” agreed E. Anthony Wayne, US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. “We are embarking on a programme to diversify our energy sources and change the mix,” he said. “And Brazil is a leader in ethanol production and deep sea drilling for petroleum.” Argentinean natural gas is also on the US radar screen, he said.

Argentina is working on ways to develop compressed natural gas as an automobile fuel export, said Martín P. Redrado, President of the Central Bank of Argentina. “We have had discussions in Northern Africa, India and other places,” he reported. His country is also offering incentives for biofuel development from soybeans, he added.

A potential outgrowth of efforts in biofuel could be a broader expansion in biotechnology. “There are only three countries in the world that have decoded the genome of a living organism, and Brazil is one of them,” said Furlan. “And we are rich in biodiversity.”

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Source: Webbolt Newsroom April 11, 2006.

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