USDA trade mission spurs record ethanol exports to china
By Daniel Enoch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2015 - USDA today announced a dramatic increase in ethanol exports to China this year, following a USDA-led trade mission to the Asian nation in 2014.
While previous ethanol exports to China averaged less than $3 million annually from 2005 to 2014, during this October alone, the U.S. shipped 32.5 million gallons of ethanol to China, valued at $57 million, USDA said. That's 46 percent of total U.S. ethanol exports for the month.
In May 2014, USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Michael Scuse led a trade mission to northeast China to explore opportunities for trade in the region. Representatives from nine state departments of agriculture and 28 U.S. companies, including renewable fuels businesses, participated in the mission.
Our objective for every trade mission is to create new markets for farm products made in rural America,” Scuse said in a news release. “U.S. ethanol exports to China have jumped from $8 million (in 2014) to more than $86 million (in 2015 through October) since our May 2014 visit. In October, we exported more ethanol to China than in the previous 10 years combined.”
About 5.2 billion bushels of U.S. corn - or about 38 percent of this year's crop - will be used to produce ethanol, according to USDA.
China is the largest market for U.S. food and farm products, after American agricultural exports to the world's most populous nation tripled over the last decade. China now accounts for nearly 20 percent of all foreign sales of U.S. agricultural products, USDA says.
Earlier this year, USDA partnered with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) with plans 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.
“These are the kind of initiatives that strengthen our rural communities, and open new doors and help our farmers and ranchers capitalize on the tremendous export potential for American agricultural products,” said Scuse.
The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, USDA says, with 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, according to the department.
USDA says 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 the country.
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