The global economy is going to look different for a while. Our industry’s reliability under pressure, coupled with open supply and trade links, and sound policy, will continue to be ethanol’s advantage in the global marketplace.
At the time of writing, the U.S. is heading into an election, Canada’s minority government survived a confidence vote that would have triggered an election, geopolitical tensions with China continue, and Brazil implemented a tariff rate quota (TRQ) on U.S. ethanol.
And that was all in the same week! These turbulent times are shifting the global landscape, and some changes may stick. Which begs the question: How do we drive trade during a pandemic, for better or for worse?
International trade has been the major driver of growth for the last half of the 20th century. Countries with strong international trade have become more prosperous, as have the industrial sectors with healthy and open trading. In our industry, exports allow our farmers and ethanol producers to benefit from larger markets and more stable pricing. And imports have filled market shortages and allowed regions with newer or developing renewable fuels industries access to ethanol’s environmental benefits sooner and in greater quantities. World trade had challenges before COVID, but the pandemic is undoubtedly affecting the export landscape both in theory and practice.
Economies have dramatically slowed with recent partial recoveries in jeopardy due to new waves of the pandemic. Shelter-In-Place restrictions and travel bans caused over 4 billion people worldwide