NBB responds to European Commission complaint

By | July 14, 2008
In June, the European Union formally initiated an investigation into trade complaints against the United States and the U.S. biodiesel industry. The complaints stem from antidumping and countervailing duty trade complaints filed by the European Biodiesel Board. In general, the antidumping case alleges that the U.S. industry is selling biodiesel in the EU at costs lower than sales made in the United States. The countervailing complaint alleges that EU biodiesel producers are being harmed by U.S. policy that supports biodiesel.

The National Biodiesel Board counters that the EBB's allegations are inaccurate. U.S. biodiesel exports are simply not the cause of the supposed difficulties facing the EBB's membership. Biodiesel producers in the EU produce from a more expensive feedstock and by their own admission have been negatively impacted by changes in EU member state policy. These factors should be the focus of the EBB's attention.

Manning Feraci, NBB vice president of federal affairs, issued the following statement in response to the EU's formal trade complaint: "The allegations of harm leveled by the European biodiesel industry in these trade complaints are baseless. It is disingenuous and hypocritical that several of the European biodiesel companies that joined in the complaints are the very entities actively involved in the trade of U.S. biodiesel.

"The European biodiesel industry is not being harmed by U.S. competition. High feedstock costs, changes to EU member policies and in some cases poor business practices are the true issues facing European biodiesel producers. It is unfortunate that the EBB has found it politically expedient to blame the U.S. biodiesel industry instead of focusing its efforts on the true challenges facing its membership.

"The EBB, despite the stated desire of the U.S. biodiesel industry to resolve this matter absent trade litigation, has chosen a protectionist ploy designed to block competition in the European market. The allegations made by the EBB are unfounded, and the NBB will not only vigorously defend the interests of the U.S. biodiesel industry, but will employ every tool available to challenge existing EU trade barriers that provide preferential treatment to European biodiesel producers," Feraci said.

The European Commission has begun its investigation of the allegations. The commission has set a deadline to have provisional findings by March 13, 2009, which it will then present to EU member states. If the allegations are considered justified, then specific duties, called 'countervailing duties' in the case of subsidies and 'anti-dumping duties' in the case of dumping, will be assigned. During this process, the NBB will diligently work for the U.S. biodiesel industry to defend against these allegations.
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