EU biodiesel imports double 2016-’17, nearly triple 2017-’18

By UFOP | February 28, 2019

After the antidumping tariffs on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia were suspended, European imports showed a steep rise. In previous years, biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia only played a secondary role, but this has changed profoundly since October 2017. In 2018 alone, the volume of biodiesel imports from both countries multiplied. In previous years, biodiesel from Malaysia accounted for the biggest share of imports. Supplying countries also included India, China, Norway and Hong Kong.

After the Argentine biodiesel industry had successfully taken action before the World Trade Organization against the punitive tariffs imposed by the EU Commission, the latter had to abolish the additional duties. As a result, biodiesel exports from Argentina soared. Based on data from Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI), more than half of Argentine biodiesel production goes into exports. This is the result of the Argentine government's policy of differential export taxes (DETs), which is criticized by the European biodiesel industry.

The EU-28 already increasingly covers its demand with biodiesel imports, although the community is the world’s biggest producer of biodiesel. With an output of 13 million metric tons (3.9 billion gallons) including renewable diesel, in the absence of marketing possibilities production capacities have not been used fully for many years now. In 2018, a total of 3.3 million tons (more than 990 million gallons) of biodiesel were imported from third countries. This was almost three times more than a year earlier. The main recipients of biodiesel from overseas are the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium because of the large storage capacities at their ports. From there, the commodity is transported on to other EU countries.

In view of the tremendous increase in imports from Argentina and the agreement on handling subsidized imports from Argentina that was recently concluded between the EU and Argentina, the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has said it is disappointed about the EU Commission’s attitude and that the commission is insufficiently committed to protecting European production of biodiesel and rapeseed. In fact, the association fears that, in the case of Indonesia, the pending proceedings will result in another trade-based compromise. The reason is that the EU has launched an initiative for resuming negotiations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The EU must have something to offer to raise interest. In 2019, Thailand took over the presidency of the Asian bloc, of which Indonesia is a member alongside Malaysia.


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