Latin leaders eye ethanol
Leaders from Latin American countries meeting in the Dominican Republic June 3-4 are expected to key in on the prospects for using their corn and sugar cane crops to boost international sales of ethanol, according to an Associated Press report.
Leaders from Central America, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic are meeting in La Romana, which promotes itself as the Dominican sugar capital. Leaders say that with soaring oil prices, there will be a new demand for ethanol as an alternative fuel or fuel additive. That should help revive the Caribbean sugar industry, which has been lagging in recent years.
The Belgian company Alcogroup has already announced plans to build an ethanol plant in the Dominican province of Monte Plata, the report noted, and is in talks with other partners to convert at least one Dominican sugar mill into an ethanol distillery.
Elsewhere, a Brazilian company is seeking to purchase Jamaica's state-owned sugar producer so it can enter the U.S. market without paying tariffs under a regional free-trade agreement, the report added. Brazil is one of the world's leading ethanol producers.
The report quoted Juan Antonio Japa, general manager of the Dominican Republic's national sugar cooperative, as saying, 'In the next 10 to 15 years, ethanol will be the king of fuels.'