French, German oilseed farmers ask EU to protect biodiesel market

By FOP, UFOP | September 19, 2017

On Sept. 7 member state representatives narrowly approved the proposal by the European Commission to reduce customs duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina by Sept. 28. The French union of oilseeds and proteins crops producers (FOP) and the German association for the promotion of oil and protein plants (UFOP) don’t understand this decision and ask the commission to quickly protect the EU market from Argentinian distorting practices.

FOP and UFOP point out that the duties imposed on Argentinian biodiesel were implemented in 2013 due to Argentina’s unfair export practices, giving them a competitive advantage in the EU biodiesel market. Even if the legal dispute says EU duties were not well calculated, the trade distortive practices are still there and will lead to an increase in Argentinian biodiesel imports to the EU. These imports hit more than 1.5 million metric tons (450 million gallons) of soy methyl ester to the EU before the introduction of antidumping duties in 2013.

This decision is not good news for European oilseed growers, as the same case is pending with Indonesian biodiesel (1 million tons), and as the U.S. recently imposed a punitive duty to Argentinian biodiesel for the same reasons as the EU—unfair competition.

Furthermore, FOP and UFOP are criticizing the lack of coherent policies from the commission. It cannot propose a reduction of EU production of biofuels from cultivating biomass with the motive of environmental issues at the same time as widely opening its markets to external biofuels and also to genetically modified protein meal imports. This policy denies EU oilseed growers the perspective to keep oilseeds in their crop rotation systems. Therefore, FOP and UFOP demand a strong EU policy promoting the environmental benefits within a circular economy of its farming while protecting its market from unfair competition.

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