China is halting plans to require its gasoline blend to contain 10 percent ethanol this year, dashing the hopes of Americans who had hoped to export more corn-based ethanol.

"China was expected to increase imports of U.S. ethanol after the recent announcement of Phase 1 of a trade agreement," Hallie Gu, Muyu Xu, and Shivani Singh report for Reuters. "But at a meeting in late December with ethanol producers and oil majors, China’s National Development and Reform Commission said it will now halt the rollout of ethanol-gasoline supplies beyond the current handful of provinces that have already implemented full or partial blends, according to two of the three sources briefed on the meeting."

Chinese officials announced in 2017 the plan to move to an E10 fuel mix starting in 2020. But in 2017 the nation had a huge corn surplus, and now it doesn't. China also lacks the infrastructure to produce enough corn-based ethanol to meet the E10 target, Reuters reports.

American corn and ethanol producers had hoped to revive trade with China. In 2016, the U.S. exported about 20% of its fuel ethanol to China, worth $300 million that year, but ethanol exports to China have slowed dramatically because of the tariffs added during the trade war. "In 2018, China was the eighth-biggest market for U.S. ethanol exports, taking up 52.9 million gallons of the corn-based fuel, according to the RFA. It also bought 290,173 tonnes of U.S. corn, U.S. Agriculture Department data shows," Reuters reports.