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EU tracks Argentine, Indonesian biofuel imports, duties likely

May 30, 2013

The European Union (EU) will track more Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports, making it more likely that duties will be placed on the two countries, Reuters reported in April. Currently, these countries represent 90% of EU biodiesel imports and face retroactive duties if an investigation finds the countries have benefited from illegal subsidies (see also ‘Argentina: Anti-dumping anger’, p25).

The European Union (EU) will track more Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports, making it more likely that duties will be placed on the two countries, Reuters reported in April. Currently, these countries represent 90% of EU biodiesel imports and face retroactive duties if an investigation finds the countries have benefited from illegal subsidies (see also ‘Argentina: Anti-dumping anger’, p25).
The European Commission (EC) stated in an official publication that it had enough evidence to prove producer subsidies were “causing material injury to the (European) Union industry, which is difficult to repair”.
The EU is already registering biodiesel from some companies in the two countries as part of a separate case on alleged price dumping – selling products for less abroad than at home, or for less than they cost to make.
For Argentina, the world’s largest biodiesel exporter, EU regulators said taxes placed on exports of raw materials such as soyabean oil used to make biodiesel, but not on the finished product, made it uneconomical to buy the fuel from EU refiners.
A similar raw material export tax exists in Indonesia, which the EC said undercuts EU refiners.
Nevertheless, Argentina and Indonesia maintain their measures are consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
From very low levels in 2008, EU biodiesel imports from the two countries rose progressively to around 2.5M tonnes in 2011, according to estimates from Eurostat and producer group, the European Biodiesel Board (EBB).
The EBB brought the complaint that launched the investigation. It has said that, to level the playing field, the EU would need to impose duties of between 28.5% and 29.5% for Argentina, and between 35.5% and 37.5% for Indonesia.
The EC has recently proposed new rules that would allow it to impose much higher duties on states found to be distorting the market by restricting access to their raw materials.
Indonesia’s government has questioned the EU’s allegation of biodiesel price dumping.

  • Biofuels Digest reported in April that, as a result of the anti-dumping investigation, the Argentine biodiesel industry is running at 40-50% production capacity. The potential for duties, the report said, has sent shockwaves through the industry and biodiesel exports have sunk.
  • Argentina has increased its biodiesel mandate from five percent to seven percent, effective from September this year, according to the Argentina Renewable Energies Chamber (CADER).

In May, CADER published a report titled, ‘State of the Argentine Biofuels Industry: Launching of the Domestic Biodiesel and Ethanol Market’, which indicated Argentina had an installed capacity of approximately 2.4M tonnes/year originating from 19 producing facilities. In 2009, Argentina exported 1.2M tonnes/year of production, almost all of it to Europe.


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