Global ethanol production is highly concentrated in just a few regions. Of the just over 100 billion litres produced every year, over three-quarters is in the United States and Brazil alone. The European Union is the third largest ethanol producer in the world, but accounts for only about 5% of global ethanol production.
Domestic ethanol industries have generally developed because of national policies that drive demand. As a result, most ethanol is consumed in the country where it is produced. An estimated 10% of global production is traded cross-border. Naturally, the export market is also dominated by the United States and Brazil, which account for over two-thirds of global ethanol trade. The remainder is made up of a larger number of smaller producers.
The EU renewable ethanol industry's approach to ethanol trade is guided by the following principles:
The trade of ethanol and the domestic production and consumption of ethanol should be balanced in such a way that the goals of addressing climate change, supporting energy independence and creating long-term employment can be achieved. In the absence of such a balance, these goals could well be undermined. With trade on the one hand and local production and consumption regimes on the other, striking a balance between the two is the only way to create a win-win situation for Europe and the rest of the world.