US moves one step closer to tariffs on biodiesel imports

By Ron Kotrba | May 05, 2017

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced May 5 it has made “unanimous affirmative determinations” in its preliminary phase antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, meaning the U.S. government will advance its examination of injury to domestic biodiesel producers, along with potential remedial action, from what the National Biodiesel Board asserts is illegally traded product. The investigation was initiated by an antidumping and countervailing duties petition filed in March by the NBB’s Fair Trade Coalition.

In a press release, USITC stated there “is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”

As a result of the commission’s 5-0 vote, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, with its preliminary countervailing duty determinations due by June 16, and its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due by Aug. 30.

“Today’s decision in our favor is an important next step for the U.S. biodiesel producers suffering because of the flood of imports,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the NBB. “We look forward to the results of both this commission and the commerce department’s investigations, in the hope that these unfairly traded imports will stop threatening the future of homegrown energy.”

Chad Stone, the chief financial officer for the largest U.S. biodiesel producing company, Renewable Energy Group Inc., said, “Today’s unanimous vote by the ITC is a key step in stopping unfair biodiesel trade practices that significantly harm U.S. biodiesel producers and American jobs. While we welcome healthy and fair competition, we cannot ignore unfair trade practices that threaten the domestic biodiesel industry that supports tens of thousands of American jobs, promotes energy security and improves our environment.” Stone testified before the USITC last month as part of the NBB Fair Trade Coalition.

Multinational agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. also praised USITC’s preliminary decision to move forward with the investigation. “As one of the petitioners on this important industry initiative, we are pleased to see that the ITC has taken the first step toward imposing countervailing and antidumping duties on biodiesel imported from Argentina and Indonesia,” said Ray Bradbury, president of risk management for ADM’s corn processing business and president of ADM’s North American biodiesel business unit. “The facts clearly show that Argentina and Indonesia are engaging in unfair trade practices, and we are confident that duties will be imposed when the final decision is made. This process exists to prevent export practices that injure workers in the importing countries—in this case, the United States. American farmers, American workers and American biodiesel can and should have a free and fair playing field.”

In 2016, roughly a third of the U.S. biodiesel market was supplied by imported biodiesel and renewable diesel, totaling more than 915 million gallons. Argentina alone exported nearly a half a billion gallons of biodiesel to the U.S.


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