07 February 2013 01:49 [Source: ICIS news]
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (ICIS)--Foreign trade barriers and distortions caused an imbalance for US ethanol in 2012 as exports fell to just over 700m gal and imports rose to almost 500m gal, a trade group leader said on Wednesday.
The US exported over 1.2bn gal of ethanol in 2011 and imported less than 300m gal.
The setback in US ethanol trade was primarily a result of the EU’s pursuit of anti-subsidy and anti-dumping cases against the US, as well as Brazil fixing gasoline prices and lowering its domestic blend ratio to protect its sugar industry, said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
Dinneen made his comments during his state of the industry address at the National Ethanol Conference in Las Vegas.
“The RFA led the fight against the EU’s nonsensical trade cases,” he said.
“We won the anti-subsidy case, and while we may soon see a setback in the anti-dumping case, we will ultimately prevail there as well because the Europeans are attempting to re-write centuries of trade law by imposing country-wide anti-dumping tariffs when no anti-dumping was found by any of the companies investigated.”
Dinneen said Europeans hurt their own consumers by penalising the lowest cost ethanol in the world today.
In addition, the RFA said it is raising awareness to Brazil’s trade practices, as the country promotes favourable tax treatment and subsidies for ethanol transportation, storage and export.
“For years, Brazil spoke with righteous indignation about our offsetting tariff,” Dinneen said. “Their failure to address the issues we have raised represents the height of hypocrisy.”
He added that the US Environmental Protection Agency is further hurting US trade by assigning a carbon credit on sugarcane ethanol imports from Brazil.
“Our government should be fighting for us, not against us,” Dinneen said.
“EPA’s carbon scoring, assigning specious indirect land use change penalties to US production while ignoring the very real direct land use change and direct emissions attributable to Brazilian ethanol is intellectually bankrupt.”
Looking forward, Dinneen said the RFA will continue to fight these policies while looking to open new ethanol markets in the Pacific Rim, India, China and other areas as exports continues to be important to future demand.
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