EU Votes Provisional, Punitive Antidumping Tariffs on Imports of U.S. Biodiesel

March 3, 2009 06:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Tariffs to be imposed for six months, with review to follow

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The European Union voted for punitive antidumping tariffs on imports of U.S. biodiesel for six months, impacting an industry that saw $1.5 billion in sales to Europe last year.

The vote by a committee of trade officials from the EU's 27 member states was based on a complaint filed by EU biodiesel producers last July.

Facts and figures. The antidumping duties range from 2.3 euros per 100 kilograms to 19.6 euros per 100 kilograms, while the antisubsidy duties range from 21.4 euros per 100 kilograms to 26.7 euros per 100 kilograms.

The decision is to be published in the official EU Gazette on March 12. The EU will decide later this year whether to extend the duties for a period of five years. Under European rules, the commission is entitled to impose provisional duties lasting six months. Any definitive measures, lasting five years, would need approval by European governments before the summer.

Tariffs would be tailored to individual companies to reflect the types and amounts of the fuel they produce, and the amount of subsidies and other support they receive from American authorities. European producers argued their U.S.counterparts benefit twice: from subsidies by the U.S. government to produce biodiesel, and from subsidies granted by European governments when the fuel is sold on the Continent.

Raffaelo Garofalo, the secretary general of the European Biodiesel Board, an industry group, said: “There is no logical explanation for why biodiesel sold in Europe could be cheaper than its raw materials.” Europe has been a major market for U.S. biodiesel companies because European governments require oil companies to blend biodiesel with regular diesel.

The goal of the punitive duties is to erase the advantage from a U.S. tax credit that industry brokers said allows U.S. exporters to sell biodiesel in the EU for $800 per ton, compared with the average $1,000 charged by EU producers over the past six months.

Some observers believe the new tariffs may not aid European producers because Argentinean and Asian biodiesel is $50-$100 per ton cheaper than fuel produced in the EU and thus these countries may take over the U.S. segment of the EU market.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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