While it's been exporting heaps of plastic toys and cheap clothing, China has also recently become a big player in the international ethanol
market. China will export at least an estimated 500,000+ tons this year (about 11,000 barrels a day), according to Reuters
. The exports may even reach over 900,000 tons this year, up from about nothing last year. Most of this ethanol is sent to the United States. Two factors may influence the boom: the fact that China needs to import cassava to use as biomass and the continuing ethanol plant boom in the U.S.
The Chinese government is playing a large role in building ethanol plants in China, since there were only four until 2005. One Beijing-based international house trader said there are a few thousand ethanol producers in China today. The government is also encouraging producers to use non-grain crops like cassava as a feedstock. One company, China Songyuan Ji'an Biochemical Sales Co. Ltd., told Reuters it would export all of its ethanol output - 300,000 tons - this year.