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Iowa Corn Promotion Board: Japan Allows U.S. Ethanol Imports

April 18, 2018


The U.S. Grains Council confirmed yesterday that Japan has finalized a change in the country’s biofuels policy allowing for imports of the oxygenate ETBE made from U.S. corn-based ethanol. As farmers, we welcome this news as we know that U.S. ethanol can meet Japan’s need for a high octane, low-carbon fuel source in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving air quality. 

The best way to enhance farmer profitability is to create new demand for corn through value-added products such as ethanol. With more than $1.2 billion in U.S. ethanol exported last year, ethanol exports have become extremely important to Iowa farmers’ profitability.

Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol annually. Japan imports nearly all its ETBE from ethanol.

This decision by the Japanese government is based on its evaluation and life cycle assessment update of U.S. corn-based ethanol. The U.S. industry’s efforts to maximize production efficiency through technological innovations that lead to higher GHG emission reductions for corn-based ethanol and the emergence of co-products like distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) have supported this new access to the Japanese market while positively contributing to the feed and energy value chains.

The Council and its partners, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have been engaging with the Japanese fuel industry and Japanese policymakers to showcase U.S. corn ethanol. USGC also funded a study that helped to dispel myths about U.S. ethanol helping to make the case for opening the door to the Japanese market. 

Iowa’s investments in the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has helped increase demand for U.S. ethanol exports. The Council has strategically focused on the promotion of ethanol for its environmental benefits that include reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Council works to sync global ethanol policies that include a role for trade as well as overcome restraints related to inadequate infrastructure. USGC works in multiple countries, with the focus on Asia as the fastest growing market for fuel consumption in the world.

CONTACT: Lisa Cassady, PR Manager,, office 515-225-9242 or cell (515) 443-3947


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