Trade barriers and covid-19 cause ethanol exports to slump

Source: By Rhiannon Branch, Brownfields • Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2020

July ethanol exports were the lowest in six years as the industry battles trade barriers while recovering from COVID-19.

US ethanol exports in July fell 38% to 74 million gallons compared to July of 2019. Year-to-date ethanol exports have dropped 9% compared to the same period last year and 22% compared to 2018.

The Renewable Fuels Association reports that virtually no US ethanol has been shipped to top export markets including Brazil, China and Columbia recently because of unjustified trade barriers. Combined exports to those countries topped 129 million gallons in March of 2018, plummeting to just 34,000 gallons in July of 2020.

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper says the protectionist trade barriers are having a very real impact on demand for US ethanol adding that more needs to be done to ensure a fair and level playing field for ethanol trade.