US biodiesel trade association National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition filed a complaint on 11 July with the US Department of Commerce (DoC) that claims that Argentine biodiesel imports have pushed the US market to “critical circumstances”.

The new allegation follows another filed by NBB in April against Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports, which has led to an investigation by the DoC and the US International Trade Commission.

In the fresh complaint, the NBB alleges that its Fair Trade Coalition had received “new data” that “provides a reasonable basis” for suspecting that critical circumstances existed regarding Argentina’s “dumped and subsidised” exports, the association said in a statement.

The data, according to NBB, suggested that biodiesel import from Argentina had spiked 144.5% since it filed the April antidumping petition when compared to the period before the first complaint.

“The law provides a remedy for US industries harmed by illegal trade practices of this nature, and so we are taking appropriate steps to ensure these unlawful actions are addressed,” said NBB vice president of federal affairs Anne Steckel.

The “critical circumstances” provision in US antidumping and countervailing duty laws allowed authorities to impose duties on US imports prior to preliminary determinations of subsidisation and dumping.

The critical protections could provide relief in the form of retroactive duties from the effects of a surge in shipments, NBB said, and they existed to keep importers from circumventing antidumping and countervailing duties by massively increasing shipments immediately after a complaint was filed.

“When we see biodiesel from Argentina selling at a discount to the market price of soya oil – the main input into biodiesel – we know we are facing dumped pricing,” said Renewable Biofuels CEO and president Paul Soanes.

To determine that critical circumstances exist, the DoC must find that there are “massive” imports over a relatively short time period and that other statutory criteria are met, including the imports being illegally subsidised.

The NBB claims that the Argentine government is purposefully employing tactics, including subsidising Argentine producers, lowering export taxes and giving tax incentives to biofuel producers, which make it difficult for US producers to compete with them.

Argentina is the largest exporter of biodiesel to the USA.