U.S.–Brazil Biofuels Cooperation: One Year Later
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On March 9, 2007, Brazil and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen their efforts to develop reliable, clean, and sustainable energy sources. One year later, a group of high-level officials and analysts, convened by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) in partnership with the Brazil Institute and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX-Brasil), came together on March 4, 2008 for a roundtable discussion at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) 2008 in order to review progress made under the MOU.
The debate centered on how the U.S. and Brazilian governments, in partnership with the private sector, can work together to continue to move the MOU beyond its initial, ambitious vision and help expand global production of biofuels. Director of the Brazil Institute Paulo Sotero moderated the discussion and opened the debate by noting the political significance of Brazil-U.S. biofuels cooperation. That two presidents from different sides of the political spectrum, such as George W. Bush and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, came together to provide what President Lula described as an "answer to the great energy challenges of the 21st century" is an example of how, in many instances, Brazil and the United States have converging interests.