Growth Energy’s Executive Leadership Conference is an opportunity for members to learn about the outlook for ethanol not only at home, but also abroad. The ‘Making Waves Across the Globe’ panel brought together trade experts from a range of industries to discuss the global ethanol outlook for 2019 and some of the challenges our industry will face in achieving continued growth in exports for 2019. Eric Fobes of Trafigura, Lorraine Hawley of Archer Daniels Midland, Ryan LeGrand of the U.S. Grains Council, and Craig Willis of Growth Energy examined the challenges and opportunities that exist for ethanol internationally and how we can overcome them going forward.
“Ethanol works today. Its price competitive today – it always has been. Ethanol has been the long-term, low cost provider for ten years,” said Fobes on the global ethanol outlook. “There is an economic benefit. A real economic benefit… for consumers in generally poor countries. We think it’s good.”
In 2018, ethanol exports experienced unprecedented growth, as countries across the globe began to adopt their own ethanol blending requirements to meet their economic and environmental goals. Growth Energy worked diligently in 2018 to engage with our international allies to help promote biofuel abroad – submitting five comments to countries around the globe as they considered expanding or adopting biofuels like ethanol into their fuel stream. This panel allowed members to gain insight into how Growth Energy and our allies will continue to press for positive biofuels legislation abroad and some of the strategies we will employ to do so.
In particular, panelists discussed key markets that have continued to provide consistency and security for Americas ethanol producers and farmers. They explored the unique opportunities that these markets present – in countries like China, Brazil, and Mexico. Particularly, they discussed how our industry can build on the growth we experienced in 2018 and how to ensure strong trade relations and reduced barriers to trade abroad.
“There is an incentive on both sides for the governments to talk to one another… we need to come together as a resolution on these trade issues,” said Hawley on trade with China. “We know for the administration it’s a priority, especially for agriculture.”
“Looking at the numbers, Mexico imports 73% of their total gasoline needs, almost exclusively from the United States,” LeGrand noted on ethanol’s potential in Mexico. “The choice at the pump is what you need in Mexico.”
It is critical that we both engage with existing markets to craft positive biofuels legislation and also help foster growth in burgeoning markets abroad. Our industry must position ourselves to be able to take advantage of these markets in order to provide stability for our industry and our nations farmers. Forging strong trade relations and working with foreign officials to reduce trade barriers is central to that effort and will improve the global ethanol export outlook.
For more information, please contact Director of Communications, Leigh Claffey.
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