Ethanol Buyers Conference Leads to Ethanol Exports

In August 2020, capitalizing on the success of the Global Ethanol Summit in October 2019, the U.S. Grains Council used Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funds to host the first-ever Virtual Ethanol Buyers Conference. Over 330 potential ethanol buyers from 38 countries were in attendance to learn about the U.S. ethanol industry and to develop commercial relationships with U.S. exporters.

The event featured an educational conference, a virtual trade show, and one-on-one business meetings. This event was instrumental for buyers and sellers to begin a dialogue on export opportunities, to learn about product specifications for both fuel and industrial grade ethanol, and to explore how to move past the market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The one-on-one business meetings were initiated by buyers and sellers online via Zoom. These meetings established new relationships and strengthened those existing within the ethanol sector to achieve enhanced global awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of U.S. ethanol and expand exports to new and existing markets.

As a direct result of these meetings, most participants reported that they made new business contacts that will help them in the future. For example, our offices in India, Japan, and Mexico were able to connect with new customers to understand their needs for industrial-grade ethanol. In Japan, the Council was also able to start conversations and begin building a relationship with the leading industrial ethanol importer into Japan, a market that Brazil has traditionally supplied.

Participants had access to a virtual trade show as part of the event, which connected U.S. ethanol exporters to international buyers. USGC members set up about 15 virtual booths where they exhibited product information and learned more about members’ unique marketing practices and the global availability of U.S. ethanol. A survey of U.S. industry participants at the conclusion of the conference reported that over $55 million in sales could be attributed to the Virtual Ethanol Buyers Conference with the potential for
additional sales in the longer term as these new business contacts lead to more export opportunities.