Transatlantic trade dispute heats up again

More controversy over Argentine biodiesel exports to Spain
By Ron Kotrba | March 28, 2012

In international news, Spanish newspaper El Mundo recently reported that controversy is heating up again over Argentine biodiesel exports to Spain, specifically citing the Argentine unit of Repsol YPF SA.

While a ministerial order to block Argentine biodiesel imports was signed by the previous government last year, former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero chose not to enact the measure as a result of pressure from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, El Mundo reported. In office since December, new Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy thus far has decided not to sign the order into law.

El Mundo said Argentina earns €750 million ($995 million) a year selling 750,000 tons of biodiesel into Spain.

Carlos St. James, president of the Latin American & Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy, told Biodiesel Magazine that while the Spanish biodiesel industry has been seeking for some time to lock out Argentine biodiesel, claiming unfair trade practices, “this situation with YPF is a reason to take it to the next level,” St. James said. “However, last year the Spanish oil industry came out against limiting Argentine biodiesel imports arguing that this was against the greater good of the Spanish consumer: by keeping out cheaper Argentine biodiesel, Spanish consumers would then have to contend with higher fuel prices is they had to blend in higher cost Spanish biodiesel.”

What’s your take on the situation? 


1 Responses

  1. Peter Brown



    This whole thing is just so wrong. Starting from the bottom, Spanish oil companies oppose restricting the import of Argentinian biodiesel because then they can raise the price of petroleum on the backs of the Spanish biodiesel producers. I wonder what the profit levels of the Spanish oil companies are so that they are willing to shut down local businesses and farmers? In the bad old days of splash and dash US producers were taking their subsidized biodiesel and dumping it with a dollar premium on European markets. Many German biodiesel producers shut down. I personally think that biodiesel should be considered an international product just like petroleum products but with this distinction, as soon as it leaves the home country, it is sold at the international price. This may be restraint of trade, but Biodiesel carries a number of banners and pricing is just one of them, carbon credits, farm jobs, research etc are all part of the mix that needs to be supported.

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