US agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) will temporarily suspend production at its 275,000 tonnes/year biodiesel plant in Mainz, Germany because of increased biofuel imports into the EU, Reuters reported on 23 March.

“Since September 2017, the EU has seen an influx of imported biodiesel which has placed significant pressure on the local market, impacting profitability for European-based producers,” an ADM spokeswoman said. “With continued imports and increasingly poor margins, the company has taken the difficult decision to cut back production in the region.”

The standstill was expected to last through the second quarter of 2018 and would be reviewed during the third quarter, the spokeswoman said.

In 2013, the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia but both countries launched and have won a series of legal challenges against the duties.

On 28 September 2017, the EU sharply cut its import duties on Argentine biodiesel from 22-25.7% to 4.5-8.1% after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in the country’s favour in October 2016.

In relation to Indonesian biodiesel imports, the WTO told the EU on 23 January that it must bring its measures into conformity with WTO agreements.

On 18 January, the EU withdrew the appeals it had made to the European Court of Justice, signalling that it accepted the court’s ruling to annul its anti-dumping duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel.

And in the latest legal decision, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU must remove the current 8.8-23.3% anti-dumping tax imposed on Indonesian biodiesel, effective from 16 March.

The Reuters report said that rising biodiesel imports from Argentina and an expected surge in shipments from Indonesia threatened to cripple EU biodiesel output.

French oilseed processor Saipol, part of the Avril Group, had announced in October that it planned to cut production of rapeseed biodiesel by 60% from 1.3M tonnes in 2017, to a projected 700,000 tonnes this year.

According to Reuters, 600,000 tonnes of Argentinian biodiesel were shipped to Europe between September 2017 and mid-January 2018.