BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) said on Feb. 4 that it has warned the European Commission of surging ethanol imports from Peru since the entering into force of the free trade agreement in August 2013. 

It is apparent that an inadvertent change in the pattern of trade is occurring as a direct consequence of this trade agreement, ePURE said. Peru is taking advantage of the elimination of import duties on ethanol by ramping up its exports to the E.U. and substituting the missing supply with cheap ethanol imports from the U.S., the group said. 

Official data reveals that exports from Peru between January and October 2013 have more than tripled to over 93 million liters compared to 27 million liters during the same period in 2012. This surge has occurred in just three months immediately following the removal of import duties. The figure can be expected to be substantially larger once trade data for the entire year becomes available. 

Trade data shows that 84 million liters of ethanol were imported from the U.S. between January and October 2013. This is a clear sign that bilateral trade agreements can create loopholes for other countries to take advantage of, ePURE said. 

"It is apparent that U.S. ethanol producers are ultimately gaining from this operation at the expense of European ethanol producers, jeopardizing investments made to achieve renewable energy targets, create new markets for farmers and generate employment in the E.U. The European Commission must act to prevent the effects of poorly conceived bilateral trade agreements which undermine its own domestic policies,” said Rob Vierhout, ePURE's secretary-general.