The EU’s removal of duties on Argentina and Indonesian biodiesel could result in a flood of imports starting in April and the closure of some small producers, according to the head of a major German biodiesel producer.

“I fear the decisions to remove the anti-dumping duties will result in a flood of unfairly priced biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia in the EU,” said Claus Sauter, chief executive of German biofuels producer Verbio AG, in a 29 March Reuters report.

“I expect that some EU biodiesel producers, especially small-sized companies, will have to reduce production or even close.”

The EU imposed anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia in 2013 but has since faced a series of legal challenges at the European Court of Justice and the World Trade Organization. Both bodies have ruled against the EU measures.

The Reuters report said that the EU had removed duties on biodiesel imports for 13 Argentine and Indonesian producers following the end of legal proceedings at the European Court of Justice.

US agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland Co already announced on 23 March that it would temporarily suspend production at its 275,000 tonnes/year biodiesel plant in Mainz, Germany because of increasing cheap biodiesel imports into the EU.

“Various unfair export taxes and other state support mean Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel can be sold in Europe at US$50-60/tonne cheaper than EU biodiesel producers can buy raw materials such as rapeseed oil,” Sauter said. “This is before even EU production costs are calculated.”

The EU’s biodiesel market was about 12M tonnes/year, Reuters said.

“I expect about three to five million tonnes will be imported in 2018 and afterwards,” Sauter said. “As EU biodiesel is mainly produced from rapeseed oil, European farmers will lose a huge market for their rapeseed.”

Sauter urged the EU to reimpose anti-dumping duties.

“I am confident Verbio, as a large-scale producer, will survive, but other EU biodiesel producers may not survive this year,” he said.