Argentina files dispute with WTO against EU on biodiesel imports

By Ron Kotrba | May 16, 2013

Argentina notified the World Trade Organization Secretariat of a request for consultations with the European Union on measures imposed by the EU and/or its member states that affect the importation and marketing of biodiesel, as well as measures supporting the biodiesel industry, stated the WTO on May 15. “In its request, Argentina refers to measures applied by the EU for the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and the introduction of a mechanism to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as measures for their implementation at the level of the member states of the EU. It also refers to the establishment of support schemes for the biodiesel sector in the EU. According to Argentina, the measures violate, among other things, several provisions of GATT 1994 regarding nondiscrimination, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the Trade Related Investment Measures Agreement, and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.”

The filing with WTO is in response to the ongoing trade dispute between the EU and biodiesel exporting countries Argentina and Indonesia, the latest of which published in EC Regulation 330/2013 calls for the registration of Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports to the EU as part of antidumping and antisubsidy investigations initiated by complaints from the European Biodiesel Board that argue differential export taxes (DETs) in the two originating countries create an unfair playing field that is injurious to the European biodiesel industry.

After publication of the EC Regulation 330/2013 last month, Argentine biofuels organization Camara Argentina de Combustibles (CARBIO) stated “there is no subsidy on exports of biodiesel from Argentina, let alone in the application of export duties which are considered taxes under national legislation and international law. It is noteworthy that the expressions, difficult to understand, that the European Commission has poured in that regulation in relation to the registration, have no evidence as to the existence of subsidies, let alone the alleged damage to European industry that is difficult to repair. On the contrary, Argentine biodiesel exports are highly efficient and competitive by the conditions of production and processing of national soybean industrial complex. For this reason our country is the third largest exporter of soybeans, the world's leading exporter of fishmeal and fish oil and soy oil was the main supplier of biodiesel in the European market until the opening of these investigations have only generated damage to the industry Argentina without justification. Mindful of this, CARBIO and its member companies reiterated their commitment to continue cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations by the European Commission to reach a definitive closure of the same without the imposition of import duties. This way you can re-enable European consumers to use a [environmentally friendly, high-quality] biodiesel at reasonable prices, thus helping the EU to maintain its policy to combat climate change through the use of renewable energy.”

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.


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