Dispute with U.S. involves dehydrated ethanol

Costa Rican leaders are trying to work with the United States government on an import duty issue. The nation has submitted a request to the U.S. to discuss a change in the current system of assessing duty on dehydrated ethanol.

This request comes just before the elimination of a quota for 31 million gallons of the ethanol that was previously granted to Costa Rica per the Central American Free Trade Treaty.

In 2013 the U.S. imposed a controversial duty of 2.5 percent on imports of dehydrated ethanol. Member countries of the free trade pact claimed the arbitrary tax was unfair and violated the free trade agreement. From 2000 to 2013 exports of dehydrated ethanol to the U.S. Accounted for 70 percent of the product’s worldwide exports, according to the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.

The parties have until June 1 to solve the dispute. If it is not resolved by then, they will move on to a next step in the trade treaty guidelines.

Dehydrated ethanol, which is basically 200-proof alcohol is a solvent and has many medical uses.

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