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U.S. Ethanol Export Markets Expand, Former USGC Leader Says

The Middle East is a prime market for the U.S. corn byproduct.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- U.S. ethanol is poised to enter the Middle East in a big way and China offers a prime market as well, according to a former leader of the U.S. Grains Council.

Julius Schaaf, former chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), spoke this week to Successful Farming at a corn conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Maizall, the joint organization of the Grains Council and its counterparts of Brazil and Argentina.

Regarding new markets that the USGC has worked to open, Schaaf revealed that the Philippines is about to open its ethanol blend market, as a result of USGC work to overcome barriers. Also, other markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Egypt are opening up to the U.S. as well.

“The Middle East has become a booming and prominent market for ethanol,” says Schaff. “China will all also be very important with their 100% blend law,” Schaff stated.

U.S., China Trade Agreement

When asked about the commercial tensions between the U.S. and China, combined with disputes with other countries, the Iowa farmer does not have any forecast about the possible outcome.

“There may be a lot of background negotiation,” Schaaf says. He hopes that a good deal comes to the table.

Regarding other countries, the former chairman mentioned that his top worry is about a possible retaliation of Japan on U.S. agricultural products, after president Trump’s threats of imposing tariffs on some Japanese products.

“Japan is the third largest importer of corn, we have to avoid the effects of this,” Schaff says.

Asked to cite other achievements of the U.S. Grain Council, Schaaf said that he is happy about keeping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alive and a good trade volume with Mexico and Canada.

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