EU confirms biodiesel duties on US product

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 09, 2009
Posted July 13, 2009

A majority of member states in the European Commission affirmed provisional countervailing duties on July 7 that were initially imposed in March on U.S. biodiesel imports into the European Union, effectively shutting down biodiesel shipments. The action was expected and will extend the duties for five years.

"This is an unfortunate decision," Manning Feraci, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, said. "Throughout this case, we have constantly put data on the record that clearly shows the European biodiesel industry was not being harmed by U.S. competition. In fact, some EU companies have fared quite well. For those that have not, it is factors unrelated to U.S. competition - bad business models; high feedstock costs; and detrimental EU member state policy- that are to blame. The decision to ignore these fundamental facts has yielded a protectionist result that is detrimental to all parties involved. Moving forward, the U.S. biodiesel industry will certainly reserve our right and ability to further address this flawed outcome."

The European Biodiesel Board lauded the approval of the anti-dumping and countervailing measures. "[The] decision by the Council of Ministers confirms that the U.S. claims were misleading and self-defeating. They could not break the strong causality link between unfair U.S. biodiesel trade and the damage suffered here in Europe. It is our greatest satisfaction to see the positive conclusion of a process initiated by EBB more than two years ago, involving considerable time and resources, for the defense of our endangered industry" said EBB Secretary General Raffaello Garofalo.

The EBB further said the European Commission actions are not protectionism. "EBB's complaints were motivated by the legitimate right to operate in a level playing field. In that sense, the robust measures ultimately adopted today by EU authorities will benefit fair international trade in biodiesel, also avoiding unnecessary transatlantic shipments that were largely undermining CO2 reduction efforts," the EBB statement said.

To read the July 7 documents from the Official Journal of the European Union regarding the countervailing duties, see Council Regulation 598 and Council Regulation 599.
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