ePure Backs Duties

European Ethanol Producers Decry Talk to Cut Import Duties

CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- The European renewable ethanol association, or ePure, said Europe's ethanol producers "are actively involved" in the effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic, including a shift in output from fuel ethanol to industrial grade ethanol used in manufacturing hydro-alcoholic gel, sanitizers and other disinfectants.

The shift in demand does not offset the loss in fuel demand, and some operators were forced to reduce production, ePure told the European Commission in a letter.

"We are therefore concerned by certain industries' unfounded requests to suspend tariff duties on ethanol imports, alleging shortages of ethanol and competition for end uses," said ePure. "If granted, these measures could put in jeopardy our industry, which on the contrary needs to prepare for the post COVID-19 resumption of economic activities.

ePure sought the EU commission's assistance to ensure Europe's ethanol industry remains viable.

"The threat of injury is blatant," said ePure. "Prices in the European fuel ethanol market have dropped from EUR/cbm 600 to below EUR 400 in March. In the U.S. and Brazil, the two major ethanol producers accounting for 55% and 30% of the world's ethanol production respectively, the industry is faced with a similar situation, shut downs, 'force majeure' declarations and record high stocks which could flood at low prices an already depressed European market."