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Cablegate: Brazil: Biofuels Meeting with Mre's Division of Renewable

VZCZCXRO1180
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0126/01 0251224
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251224Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0915
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1507
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5720
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7632
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN 0070
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 0212
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0167
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 000126

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC AND GREG MANUEL
EEB/ESC JAMES EIGHMIE
NSC FOR FEARS AND DAVID MCCORMICK
DOE FOR GWARD, AKARSNER, BBARTON
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC/JANDERSEN/ADRISCOLL/MWAR D
USDOC FOR 3134/ITA/USCS/OIO/WH/RD/DRAMBO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EPET PREL BR
SUBJECT: Brazil: Biofuels Meeting with MRE's Division of Renewable
Energy

A) Corneille/Haendler e-mails 1/17/08 B) 07 State 168092 C) McManus
e-mail 1/23

1. Summary: EconOffs and ESTHOffs met January 22 with Ministry of
External Relations (MRE) interlocutors to discuss next steps on our
Biofuels MOU, and used the opportunity to introduce the MRE to new
economic deputy and energy officer. Claudia Vieira Santos and
Marcelo Solomao Martinez clarified GOB plans for several upcoming
meetings: the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference
(WIREC); the International Biofuels Forum; bilateral meetings of the
Biofuels Steering Committee and its Advisory Group; and an upcoming
biofuels conference to be held in November in Brazil, to which
President Bush will be invited. MRE committed to confirm Vargas
availability for proposed March 4 Steering Committee; promised names
for the advisory group will be forthcoming "very soon;" were unable
to provide a date yet for the next science exchange and promised to
obtain a final copy of the report on the Brazilian scientists' trip
to the United States; and committed to follow up on the question of
a joint presentation at the IDB conference, getting a final copy of
the report on the scientists' exchange, and finding out when the
FGV's reports on the DR and El Salvador will be completed. MRE also
expressed some concern regarding the pace and timing for selecting
second tranche countries. END SUMMARY

-----
WIREC
-----

2. In response to questions by ESTH Counselor regarding plans for
the March 7 Washington International Renewable Energy Conference in
Washington (WIREC), Santos said that Acting Minister of Mines and
Energy, Nelson Hubner, has stepped down and will not participate.
It is unlikely that the new Minister, Edison Lobao - just sworn in
on January 21 - will participate. Brazil may send someone else,
possibly his newly appointed vice minister, Marcio Zimmermann.
Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes will not be available but
will nominate someone high-level in his stead. In addition, Santos
indicated some GOB confusion regarding the designation of an
"official delegation" when WIREC is a mixed conference of both
government and non-government attendees. MRE would be reluctant to
take responsibility for credentialing non-government Brazilian
participants who may not be known to the MRE. ESTH Counselor
assured her that he would pass her concern to Washington. He also
clarified that the official invitation to form a delegation had gone
only to Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. The Embassy had delivered
separate invitations to speak or take part as panelists to Science
and Technology Minister Rezende, EMBRAPA head Crestana, and
Petrobras CEO Gabrielli. According to Santos, the MRE delegation
will likely include the new Director for the MRE Department of
Energy, Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago (currently Brazil's deputy
head of mission at the European Union mission in Brussels), Santos,
and possibly Martinez.

---------------------------------------------
Scientific/Technical Exchange Visit to Brazil
---------------------------------------------

3. Regarding a long-proposed trip by U.S. scientists and experts to
Brazil (a follow-up, reciprocal visit to the trip by their Brazilian
counterparts to U.S. Department of Energy laboratories in September,
2007), Santos indicated that the GOB hopes to have a general
itinerary available by the end of this month. However, she noted
that January and February are like the U.S.'s July and August and
specifics are hard to come by with the relevant
university-affiliated scientists and researchers on summer vacation.
The MRE hopes that the visit can take place in March after school
resumes. She did indicate that the Brazilian scientists' report
from their visit last year is nearly ready.

-------------------------------------
Steering Committee and Advisory Group
-------------------------------------

4. Santos said that from Undersecretary Vargas's perspective, the
week of Feb. 25-29 still looked good for the next bilateral Steering
Committee meeting. Econoffs reiterated that that week was

BRASILIA 00000126 002 OF 003


problematic for Undersecretary Jeffery and once again proffered
March 4 as a possible date. Santos will check with Vargas's office.
According to Santos, although the MRE has reached out to the
institutions and companies previously provided to Washington as
Brazil's choices for the Advisory Group, the government has not yet
come to closure on the exact participants to be named for each
identified institution. As soon as that is known, they will pass
the information to us.

--------------------------------------------- -----
IDB Annual Conference, FGV and Winrock Cooperation
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. Post passed along Washington's hope that Winrock consultants
would be able to join the Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV) in making a
joint presentation on their work in El Salvador and the Dominican
Republic at the IDB annual meeting in Miami. Santos said her office
would follow up with the GOB's IDB contacts and the FGV to get more
information about the nature of the presentation and find out if
that would be possible. She agreed that if the FGV is presenting
its work on biofuels in the Dominican Republic or El Salvador, a
joint presentation might be in order since both FGV and Winrock were
working there, but that decision would be up to the IDB. She
indicated she would discuss with Ambassador Simoes, as well as
Emerson Kloss at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington. Santos
briefly outlined progress so far, with Winrock and FGV working in
parallel and with different methodologies and perhaps different
timetables in mind, alluding to Brazil being "more relaxed" but also
detailing the various steps and methodologies that FGV has
undertaken to show the thoroughness of its process. She indicated
that she was unable to respond to our more specific questions
regarding FGV's current work, but that her staff was meeting with
FGV in Rio and might have more answers shortly.

----------------------------
Second Tranche of Countries?
----------------------------

6. Santos said that the question of the second tranche of countries
was still being analyzed by the GOB-not in terms of what countries
would comprise the list, but whether we should continue to pursue
the idea of a second group of countries at this juncture. At the
end of the last Steering Group meeting, Santos contended, both
Undersecretaries Vargas and Jeffery had agreed it would be premature
to decide on new countries. According to Santos, at higher levels
of the GOB there is concern not to rush this decision. She conveyed
the belief of some in the GOB that it would be better to be able to
demonstrate concrete results with the first group of countries
before moving on to the second. "To promise and not deliver is not
good," she said, asserting that progress in some aspects has been
delayed in the first tranche and yet even so, "some people think
it's too fast." However, she did share her personal assessment that
the GOB would eventually see its way clear to moving on to a second
tranche, although the timing of this decision would be key. She
committed to gather more information on what GOB would therefore
suggest as next steps.

---------------------------------------------
Looking Ahead to November and a Likely Invitation for POTUS
---------------------------------------------

7. In addition to the International Biofuels Forum (IBF) meeting in
Washington in March, Santos shared plans for a large international
biofuels conference to be held in Brazil in mid-November. According
to Santos, the GOB plans to invite President Bush to speak.

----------
Next Steps
----------

8. Though unable to answer definitively all ref a questions, Santos
committed to follow up with concrete responses. Delays in decision
making could be partially attributed to the extended summer vacation
in Brazil combined with the imminent departure of the head of the
MRE's Department of Energy, Amb. Antonio Simoes. His replacement,
Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago is scheduled to take over on

BRASILIA 00000126 003 OF 003


February 18. Post understands that EEB heard 1/23 from Brazilian
Embassy in Washington (ref c) that Brasilia is now proposing two
dates for the visit of US Scientists to Brazil: March 31-April 4 or
April 7-11; that the Brazilian Private Sector Advisory Committee
will be named imminently; and that capital will respond "very soon"
on Steering Committee dates. Post will follow up with MRE on all
outstanding items.

SOBEL

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