Ethanol exports get boost after USDA trade trip

Ethanol exports get boost after USDA trade trip

Trade mission to Far East in2014 seems to have created expanded market opportunity in China.

USDA is reporting this week that there has been a significant jump in ethanol exports to China for 2015 following an agency-led trade mission to the country in 2014. The mission included representatives from nine state departments of agriculture and 28 U.S. companies, including renewable fuels businesses. They traveled to northeast China to explore trade opportunities.

China is the largest U.S. customer for food and farm products with exports to the country tripling over the past 10 years. The country now accounts for nearly 20% of all foreign sales of U.S. ag products.

Expanding exports of ethanol to China offer boost to U.S. industry. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, who led the mission, comments: "Our objective for every trade mission is to create new markets for farm products made in rural America. U.S. ethanol exports to China have jumped from $8 million to more than $86 million since our May 2014 visit. In October, we exported more ethanol to China than in the previous 10 years combined."

During that May 2014 trip, delegates met with gasoline companies, fuel blenders, oil companies, commodity traders and government officials to promote the use of ethanol blends. China has a clean energy strategy where it is investing in solar and wind power, ethanol as a biofuel fits into this strategy.

During October, the U.S. exported 32.5 million gallons of ethanol to China, about 46% of total U.S. ethanol exports for the month. From 2005 to 2014 exports to China averaged less than $3 million annually.

Earlier this year, USDA partnered with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide, expanding the ethanol refueling infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps, a $210 million investment that will give consumers access to clean, American-made biofuels, and provide more choices at the pump.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $911.3 billion between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country.

Source: USDA

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