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Promoting Favorable Ethanol Action Through REEEAC

May 27, 2022

Exports, Markets, RFA News, Technical, Trade


By Kelly Davis, RFA Vice President of Technical & Regulatory Affairs


On May 24, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC) held its last Charter 6 meeting. REEEAC advises the Secretary of Commerce regarding the development and administration of programs and policies that expand the competitiveness of U.S. exports of renewable energy and energy efficiency goods and services.


I have been a member of the past four charters and was proud to serve as the Charter 6 Vice Chair of the Trade Promotion and Market Access subcommittee. During our last meeting, I gave a presentation on two recommendations to increase collaboration between USDA and Commerce for ethanol and climate-smart agriculture technology.  


After the presentation, we had the privilege of engaging with several USDA and Department of Commerce officials, including Allison Thomas, Managing Director for Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs at the Foreign Agricultural Service, Emily Marthaler, International Trade Specialist, Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs, FAS, Adam O’Malley, Director-Office of Energy and Environmental Industries at the International Trade Administration (ITA), and Pat Sweeney, Machinery Team Lead, ITA.


We recommended that the Secretary of Commerce support interagency initiatives to expand U.S. ethanol exports by focusing on addressing key constraints, this includes:


  • Supporting the industry in eliminating tariff disparities between ethanol and non-renewable energy products to help reduce global tariffs on ethanol—cases in which ethanol faces a higher tariff than fossil fuel alternatives—that limit U.S. market access and run counter to global climate objectives;
  • Engaging in trade disputes in key priority markets, such as India, Brazil, China, and Mexico;
  • Finalizing pending and/or stalled free trade agreements in markets that hold great growth potential for U.S. ethanol exports;
  • Increasing interagency collaboration between the International Trade Administration and the Foreign Agricultural Service;
  • Promote U.S ethanol with recognition of its GHG reduction benefits to support export markets with national clean fuel policies; and
  • Introducing GHG-efficient U.S. agriculture technologies to emerging markets, particularly in Latin America and Africa, which can become a particularly high-impact initiative for promoting global decarbonization while increasing exports of U.S.-based ag tech products that utilize renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This advisory committee is valued by the Department of Commerce, which has implemented numerous recommendations from the charters over the years. Charter 7 has been approved and they are working on moving forward to make it official. My colleagues on this advisory committee work in wide-ranging renewable energy sectors, like solar, wind, distributed energy, hybrid power systems and biomass energy. Over the years, we have educated them on the global benefits of low-carbon U.S. ethanol. I am looking forward to the next charter, and at our last subcommittee meeting, we discussed possible agenda topics, such as green hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel.