The European Commission (EC) announced on 14 January that it is willing to accept a deal with Argentine biodiesel producers to settle a long-running trade dispute over imports of the product into Europe, reports Reuters.

“This would exclude these producers from possible anti-subsidy duties while restoring the level playing field for European producers,” an EC spokesperson said by e-mail to the news agency on 14 January.

The EC said it was willing to accept undertakings from producers that they would sell at a minimum price. Interested producers were given until 18 January to comment on the proposal, with EU countries due to be consulted on 30 January.

The EC opened its current anti-subsidy investigation against Argentina one year ago and was proposing duties of 25-33.4% depending on the companies involved, including the Argentine arms of the oilseed companies Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, as well as Molinos Rio de la Plata, according to Reuters.

The commission’s deadline for imposing duties, usually for in place for five years, was 28 February, Reuters added.

A lawyer representing one of the producers said the EC had not made clear what the minimum price would be, nor what potential volume would be allowed in.

“We would be willing to settle for a minimum value,” said Luis Zubizarreta, president of the Argentine Chamber of Biofuels (CARBIO).
The EC began investigating Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports in 2012 and imposed anti-dumping duties in 2013, but then had to remove most of them at the end of September 2017 after successful challenges at the World Trade Organization and the European Court of Justice. The European Biodiesel Board then requested a further investigation into the countries’ alleged subsidies of their biodiesel industries, with a final decision due in February.