European oilseed and edible oil trade associations are voicing their disapproval of the EU’s recent decision to lower import duties on Argentine biodiesel and demand more consistent policies for the industry.
The French Union of Oilseeds and Proteins Crops Producers (FOP) and the German Association for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) said they did not understand why the EU decided to ease the duties on 7 September and asked the European Commission to “quickly protect” the EU market.
In a combined statement on 15 September, FOP and UFOP pointed out that the duties imposed on Argentina in 2013 were put in place due to unfair export practices, which the associations claim gave Argentina producers a competitive advantage on the EU market.
“Even if the legal dispute says that EU duties were not well calculated, the trade distortive practices are still there and will lead to a slight increase of Argentine biodiesel imports in EU,” they said.
Imports of soya methyl ester to the EU from Argentina hit 1.5M tonnes in 2013 before the introduction of the anti-dumping duties, according to the associations.
They said the result of the EU vote was not good news for European oilseed farmers as there was a similar case pending with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding Indonesian biofuels.
They also referred to the USA’s decision in August to impose a punitive duty on Argentine biodiesel for the same reasons as the EU’s 2013 duties.
Additionally, FOP and UFOP criticised the lack of coherent policies on the European Commission’s part.
“The commission cannot propose a reduction of EU production of biofuels from cultivating biomass with the motive of environmental issues at the same time as widely opening its markets to external biofuels and also to genetically modified protein meal imports.”
FOP and UFOP argued that the current EC policy denied EU oilseed farmers the perspective to keep oilseeds in their crop rotation system and demanded a strong EU policy promoting the environmental benefits of a European circular economy and protecting the EU market from unfair competition.