High-Level Ecuadorian Ethanol Delegation Visits U.S., Talks Strengthening Partnership

As part of market development efforts in Ecuador being conducted by the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Latin America office, the organization recently invited a group of key public and private sector partners from the country to engage with U.S. corn and ethanol producers, industry experts and policymakers to become familiar with the industry and identify best practices and opportunities for collaboration.

Ethanol blending in Ecuador is currently implemented in 50 percent of the country, using local ethanol exclusively at a three to eight percent level depending on the type of gasoline. If Ecuador were to move to a 10 percent blend level nationwide, it would create an opportunity for U.S. exports of approximately 80 million gallons per year to supplement local production, ideally in partnership with the local industry.

“The possibility for U.S. ethanol exports to Ecuador seems promising, but there is much work to be done,” said Marri Tejada, USGC regional director for Latin America, who escorted the group. “This trip was an important step in identifying the opportunities and bottlenecks that impede the market, but we want to make sure we get it right. We need the domestic industry and government support to be sure the correct laws and mechanisms are established to accomplish the goals of fiscal savings, rural economy growth, business development, environmental considerations and a pathway for free and open trade.”

While in the states, the delegation heard from industry representatives, including the Council, National Corn Growers Association and Growth Energy. It also met with U.S. Department of Agriculture leaders in Washington, D.C., among others, before traveling to Minnesota to see the ethanol value chain in action at farms, ethanol plants and ethanol retail stations.

During the visit, Gustavo Heinert, executive director of the Association of Biofuels of Ecuador (APALE), expressed his gratitude for the organized visit and requested to know more about the process followed in the U.S. to implement an ethanol mixing blend mandate by law, which he is willing to promote in Ecuador.

“It was a great experience to be in Washington, D.C., and Minnesota,” Heinert said. “In Ecuador, we need to follow the path created by the United States by having a law requiring a 10 percent ethanol blend that does not depend on a presidential decree that can be changed by the government in power. The Ecuadorian delegation was very happy and will follow up with the pending tasks to increase the use of biofuels nationwide at a 10 percent blend or more, for which we hope to have the Council’s support in accomplishing this goal.”

For more than two years, the Council has been engaging with strategic stakeholders in the Ecuadorian government and ethanol industry, providing technical expertise and supporting analyses to demonstrate the benefits of increased ethanol blending in the country.

Developing a successful collaboration between the U.S. ethanol industry, the Ecuadorian government and local industry, would open a previously untapped market and constitute a replicable model where each can complement and support the other.