EBB monitoring biodiesel imports from Argentina

By Nicholas Zeman | July 15, 2009
Posted August 5, 2009

The European Biodiesel Board has an ongoing dialogue with the European Commission so it can "react quickly" to any evidence it gathers regarding the U.S. colluding with Argentina to circumvent countervailing measures imposed against the states, said Amandine Lacourt of the EBB. "The situation is currently under investigation," she told Biodiesel Magazine. "A lot of biodiesel already flows from Argentina to Europe and we have noticed an increase in the volumes, so it might be easier for some fraudulent practices to occur."

Argentina has a tax system that promotes the processing of soy beans: the tax on raw soybeans is 35 percent; soy oil is 32 percent and soy methyl esters is 20 percent. "So there definitely is an incentive to produce and export biodiesel," Lacourt says. "With other incentives the tax is even lower, and we think that it is creating distortions in the market. We do know, however, that it is not illegal under WTO rules."

Of course, this system is entirely different than the U.S. blenders credit, which the EC concluded allowed American producers to sell biodiesel in Europe below cost. This initiated the EC to enact "countervailing measures" to make the competition fair. European parties are concerned however that Argentina and U.S. producers could conspire to circumvent the anti-dumping laws by essentially taking advantage of incentives in both countries, and then selling it in Europe at low cost and high profit.

"We want to avoid the effect of our countervailing measures being undermined in anyway by circumvention," Lacourt said.

EBB reports that Argentina's exports of biodiesel have multiplied 20-fold to 85,046.5 metric tons in April 2009. A year earlier, before the new duties were launched, exports had stood at 4,293.7 tons. Canada's exports have also soared, rising three-fold to 2,955.7 tons in April 2009, up from 952.7 tons in April 2008.
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