Commerce dept. rules in favor of US producers in trade dispute

By The National Biodiesel Board | August 22, 2017

The National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition won a preliminary countervailing duty determination from the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding subsidized biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The commerce department found that Argentina and Indonesia provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules. In addition, the department found “critical circumstances” to address the post-petition surge of imports from Argentina, paving the way for the imposition of retroactive duties going back to May 2017.

“The commerce department has recognized what this industry has known all along—that foreign biodiesel producers have benefited from massive subsidies that have severely injured U.S. biodiesel producers,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the NBB. “We’re grateful that the commerce department has taken preliminary steps that will allow our industry to compete on a level playing field.”

As a result of the commerce department’s ruling, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 50.29 to 64.17 percent for biodiesel from Argentina, and 41.06 to 68.28 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved. Cash deposit requirements will be imposed when this preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register sometime next week. In addition, based on the “critical circumstances” finding, these rates for Argentina will apply retroactively 90 days from the date of the Federal Register notice. 

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market. 

Between the preliminary and final determinations, the commerce department will audit the foreign producers and governments to confirm the accuracy of their data submissions. Parties will file briefs on issues arising from the agency’s preliminary countervailing duty determinations, and the commerce department will hold a hearing. Preliminary determinations in the companion antidumping investigations are due to be issued in October. Final commerce department determinations will be issued later this year, or in early 2018, with a final determination by the U.S. International Trade Commission soon thereafter. 

 

 
 
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