The U.S. Grains Council has promoted U.S. ethanol exports in South Korea since 2016,
focusing primarily on educating Korean buyers about the availability and pricing of U.S. ethanol,
in addition to introducing buyers to U.S. suppliers and visiting export hubs. Council
programming included welcoming buyer teams to the United States, participation in the Global
Ethanol Summit and Asia-Pacific Ethanol Summit, hosting buyers in ethanol procurement
courses, and facilitating business-to-business meetings.
As part of a cross-organization effort with the Council’s Southeast Asia regional office, the
Korean office has promoted the importance of Korean ports as a transshipment market for U.S.
ethanol to other key Asian markets. Facilitating an engagement with other Asian buyers and
stakeholders has been a key part of the Council’s strategy, including providing market and
policy information to stakeholders in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia and arranging
meetings with local buyers to significantly expand ethanol transshipment exports through the
South Korea imported 137.4 million gallons of U.S. ethanol valued at $520 million in the
marketing year 2020/2021. This was a growth of 90.1 million gallons on an annual basis from
five years ago, before the Council was engaging in ethanol promotion efforts. In the 2016
marketing year, South Korea only imported 47.3 million gallons.
The Council has invested $341,160 of Market Access Program (MAP) and Agriculture Trade
Promotion (ATP) program funds in this work, resulting in an increase of $195.75 million in
industrial and fuel ethanol exports to South Korea and Southeast Asia in the past five years, a
return on investment of $573 per $1 of MAP and ATP invested in the past five years.