The European Commission (EC) has decided to repeal anti-dumping duties on US ethanol exports into the EU which have been in place since February 2013.

The 9.5% duties were imposed after the European ethanol association ePURE filed a complaint in 2011 that US-subsidised ethanol were harming the European biofuels industry, resulting in an anti-dumping investigation. In February 2013, the EC announced that a €62.9/tonne (US$83.03/tonne) duty would be introduced for a five-year period.

However, the EC decided on 14 May to repeal the duties after ePURE requested a review in February 2018, the month the duties were due to expire.

The commission found no evidence that warranted a continuation of the anti-dumping duties and determined removal of such duties would not encourage dumping in the EU, Ethanol Producer Magazine reported.

ePURE said the decision risked having serious consequences on the European renewable ethanol industry’s value chain, which accounted for 55,000 direct and indirect jobs in the bloc.

“This decision comes at a time when other key US export markets, including Brazil, China, Peru and Colombia, had introduced or are considering measures to protect themselves from unfair US ethanol exports,” ePURE said. This increases the risk that US exporters divert exports previously targeting these countries to the EU.”

The decision would also affect EU climate ambitions by favouring US ethanol, which was more carbon-intensive than European ethanol, ePURE stated.

European agriculture would also suffer, additionally, at a time when the EU proposed to drastically cut the budget and support for the sector under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Meanwhile, the USA had increased its support for the agricultural sector through the updated 2018 five-year Farm Bill that had enhanced commodity programmes and crop insurance tools for US farmers.

“Europe’s ethanol industry has an important role to play in the urgent effort to decarbonise EU transport,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general of ePURE.

“The EU’s 2050 climate goals require a massive uptake of conventional and advanced biofuels. To achieve them, policymakers must do a better job of creating an environment in which Europe’s ethanol industry can compete on a level playing field and valorise domestic biomass into food and non-food uses.”