The European Union’s decision to lower the antidumping duties imposed on Argentine biodiesel is heating up emotions on both sides of the Atlantic as producers and politicians scramble to voice their opinion.
The EU cut the duties from 22-25.7% to 4.5-8.1% on 20 September after a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling deciding that the original duty rate was “unjust”, wrote Reuters on 19 September.
The 2013 decision to impose duties on Argentina was based on the country’s own imposition of an export duty on biodiesel feedstock soyabeans, which the EU argued allowed Argentine producers to dump biodiesel into Europe at unfairly low prices.
Olivier Prost, a lawyer representing the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), said the EBB was preparing to launch a new challenge against Argentina by asking the European Commission to consider the Argentine subsidies illegal, as the WTO did not dispute that a trade distortion existed.
“Nobody contests the distortion. It is highlighted again in the paper on 19 September by the Commission,” said Prost.
“What we are going to do is probably launch a type of proceeding to challenge the distortions that result particularly from the differential export tax,” he added.
Elsewhere in Europe, French and German rapeseed oil producers announced a boycott on Argentine biodiesel due to the trade dispute, which prompted Argentine president Mauricio Marci to suspend the purchase of four ocean patrol vessels from France.
The French and German producers accused Argentina of not taxing its biodiesel exports and said they would take the case to the WTO.
However, geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor said on 19 September that the WTO was likely to rule again in Argentina’s favour and that the issue could affect larger South American trade negotiations with the EU.