WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – The United States has asked Brazil to consider lifting tariffs imposed on its ethanol exports and is hopeful of a positive outcome, a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney said Brazil has not indicated that they would lift them. “Our hope is that the warm relationship between our presidents and how that cascades down might let us find some relief,” he told a conference call.

Brazil currently charges a 20-percent tariff on ethanol imports surpassing 150 million tonnes a quarter in a bid to shield local farmers from foreign competition. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sandra Maler)