USGC signs ethanol MOU in Philippines during ATM

By U.S. Grains Council | August 11, 2022

U.S. Grains Council staff and ethanol industry representatives came together in July to explore the thriving market that is the Philippines during a USDA agricultural trade mission (ATM).

Alongside USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry experts, the group spent time in Manila meeting with customers and potential importers, engaging with key government stakeholders and conducting site visits to feed mill and retail fuel facilities.

“This mission was a great opportunity for the group to meet with ethanol producers and fuel blenders to further discuss the Philippines’ fuel distribution system and their perspectives on how higher ethanol blends can benefit the industry and consumers,” said Stella Qian, USGC manager of global ethanol market development, who traveled with the ATM. “The group also exchanged ideas on areas in which the Council and industries can work together to mitigate challenges created by feedstock and logistics constraints.”

With the projected swell in demand for gasoline as the country recovers from the pandemic, FAS expects the Philippines to increase fuel ethanol imports by 33 percent to 300 million liters (79.3 million gallons) to supplement supply from local production (360 million liters or 95.1 million gallons).

The Council’s ethanol programming in the Philippines, which already has a nationwide E10 policy, focuses on working with key industry and government stakeholders to continue its biofuels roadmap and move toward an E15 or E20 discretionary ceiling that would position the country to capture additional environmental and economic benefits.

During the mission, the Council and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), a leading agricultural research university in the Philippines, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate the exchange of expert knowledge, technical information and best practices related to the biofuels industry and policy development. The Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) and the Ethanol Producers Association of the Philippines (EPAP) both served as witnesses for the MOU, with FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley and Philippines Undersecretary of Energy Roberto Uy in attendance for the signing ceremony.

“The Council is excited to closely collaborate with MMSU in the Philippines, which continues to be a regional leader in biofuels,” said Chris Markey, USGC assistant regional director for Southeast Asia and Oceania.

“We are confident this partnership with MMSU, which houses the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC), will help underpin further growth of the ethanol industry in the Philippines and across the region. The leadership at MMSU and NBERIC – Dr. Agrupis and Dr. Ulep, respectively – have put together fantastic teams of experts carrying out innovative bioenergy research and programming in the Philippines.”

The Philippines is the eighth-largest export market for U.S. agricultural and food exports, averaging $3.1 billion annually during the last five years. It offers U.S. agribusinesses tremendous export potential thanks to its young and fast-growing population, strong consumer preference for U.S. foods and beverages and robust service-based economy.