A bipartisan group of 14 senators have signed a letter sent to the Acting U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Manatos and Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, calling on them to review and consider a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge to the European Union's controversial and unprecedented anti-dumping duty recently imposed on U.S. ethanol producers.
The letter notes that the European Commission (EC) "is taking this unprecedented action, despite the Commission's failure to make any particular finding of dumping by an producer or marketer investigated in connection with the case. We believe this rule sets dangerous precedent for trade and trade remedies in advance of the well-publicized start of important trade talks between the United States and the European Union, and will dramatically and unilaterally change the boundaries and limits of international anti-dumping law."
On Feb. 18, the European Union imposed an anti-dumping duty equivalent to roughly $81.43 (62.3 euros) per 1 MT of U.S. bioethanol for fuel use. In 2011, EU consumption included up to 20% of U.S. ethanol imports, according to the data from the EU ethanol lobby ePure. But since that time, the closure of a tariff loophole has reduced U.S. ethanol imports to just 5% of the EU ethanol market according to data from F.O. Licht, as reported by Reuters.
Commenting on the rare bipartisan agreement generated by this anti-dumping duty, Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, and Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following joint statement:
"We are pleased to see that members of the United States Senate have taken action against this outrageous claim by the European Union and have asked the USTR to further investigate the matter.
"The EU Commission failed to make any particular finding of dumping by any producer or marketer investigated in connection with the case. If allowed to stand, this rule would set a dangerous precedent for trade and trade remedies in advance of important trade talks between the U.S. and the EU, and furthermore will dramatically change the boundaries and limits of international anti-dumping law.
"The EU's recent actions are unprecedented and we believe that the World Trade Organization will nullify this blatantly protectionist country-wide anti-dumping duty on exports of ethanol from the United States."
The letter was co-authored by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and cosponsored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).