Print

Interesting Quotes Following Europe Slapping Tariffs on U.S. B99

Quotes from Industry after the Europeans made a temporary decision to put tariffs on US B99.
By Ron Kotrba | March 18, 2009
The quotes that appeared in the media following the decision everyone saw coming from the European Commission placing duties on incoming U.S. B99, were interesting.

Regarding the European Commission's release of Provisional Duty Regulations pertaining to anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of U.S. B99, Gene Gebolys, President and CEO of World Energy Alternatives LLC issued these words: "Well the European dog has caught the car, now what? We have been vocal in our opposition to the imposition of provisional duties but now that they are here, we welcome them. We are about to get the proof that these provisional duties will hurt the European biodiesel industry much more than they will help. US based product has been less of a competitor than a contributor to European biodiesel. US material has primarily been used as a blend stock with European material to make European spec biodiesel cheaper. As prices rise in Europe, Europeans will be paying more for less biodiesel putting even more pressure on their already dwindling diesel stocks. I am confident that the Europeans will soon have all the evidence they need to conclude that their protectionist impulse must give way to more enlightened policies. For over 20 years the Europeans have been leaders of the biodiesel market, while today's response to the global downturn is a significant step backward, this blunder will in time set the stage for the Europeans to re-imagine their leadership role in the world and emerge stronger than ever."

Manning Feraci, VP of federal affairs with NBB, said: "This is a flawed decision. The imposition of provisional duties is nothing more than a politically expedient effort to appease the protectionist whims of the European biodiesel industry and is inconsistent with the European Union's (EU) World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. This sets a dangerous precedent for global commerce. It is important to remember that this is an interim step in the ongoing investigations. To comply with WTO rules, the EC must prove that harm is being caused to the EU industry before duties are imposed. This simply is not the case, and the EC has data before it clearly demonstrating that the European biodiesel industry has not been harmed by U.S. competition. In fact, some EU companies have fared quite well. For those that have not, it is factors unrelated to U.S. competition bad business models; high feedstock costs; and detrimental EU member state policy- that are to blame. Hopefully, the EC will now take more time to fully consider the evidence before it and render a final decision later this year that is consistent with the facts and the EU's WTO obligations."

The amount of the duties, which are temporary until a final decision is reached within six months, range from 260 Euros (approximately $339) per metric ton (approximately 300 gallons) on Archer Daniels Midland, to 410 Euros (approximately $533 dollars) per metric ton (approximately 300 gallons) on Peter Cremer North America. Cargill, Imperium Renewables, Green Earth Energy Fuels, and World Energy Alternatives fall somewhere in that range as well.

Imperium Renewables, for which $377 per metric ton (approximately 300 gallons) of B99 is expected to be levied if it wants to sell biodiesel into the European market, is blaming the recent decision for its laying off 24 workers at its Grays Harbor biodiesel plant.

Of course the Europeans see things differently. European Biodiesel Board Secretary General Raffaello Garofalo said: "This decision represents no less than a decisive move for the European biodiesel industry, as it will reestablish the level playing field that our producers have long hoped for. The European Commission has recognized our legitimate right to produce and market biodiesel under fair market conditions, as well as the need to put an end to obvious unfair trade practices critically affecting the viability of a major EU industry."

I don't think the fact that this happened is a surprise to anyone; except the specifics maybe.