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Investment and Trade in Biofuels: Will there be a Market in the US for Developing Country Ethanol?

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The mandating of increased use of biofuels in transportation fuel in the US initially appeared to offer considerable benefits for developing countries via production and export of sugar cane-based ethanol. This was particularly the case after the contribution of corn-based ethanol was capped at approximately current production levels in the wake of the food price crisis starting in 2007. Closer examination of the complex US biofuels mandate, however, suggests that market access opportunities for developing countries will be much smaller than originally hoped. Current inconsistencies in US biofuels policy increase the riskiness of any developing country investments in the production of biofuels crops and co-requisite infrastructure. As a result, there appears to be little interest in investment in trade-related ethanol activities in developing countries.

Affiliations: 1: a)Research Associate, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics University of Saskatchewan, Canada,; 2: b)University Distinguished Chair; Senior Associate, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, Saskatoon, Canada,


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