The European Commission (EC) has postponed a vote designed to set its response to Argentina's successful World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge to EU anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports, according to media reports.
The vote was postponed on Thursday 27th July, 2017.
The current anti-dumping duties for Argentina amount to about 25% and in the case of Indonesia around 19%. This was set by the EU in 2013. Now, the EC is planning to reduce the duties for Argentina to around 9% and 5% to Indonesia.
The WTO upheld Argentina's complaint in an appeal ruling in October 2016. The major biodiesel exporter had called the EU measures protectionist and said they cost the country almost $1.6 billion (€1.39bn) in lost sales per year.
The EU's case was based on Argentina's imposition of an export duty on the raw material, soybeans, which it argued allowed domestic producers to "dump" biodiesel at unfairly low prices.
Some European Member States are concerned about a reduction in tariffs which would have a negative impact on the domestic biodiesel industry, agriculture and oil mills. Countries such as Germany were among the countries that expressed concern about the reduction in tariffs.
Germany-based biofuels industry group VDB (Verband der Deutschen Biokraftstoffindustries) issued a statement on the issue.
"We are extremely grateful to the federal government for expressing their concern at the imminent damage to the German biodiesel industry and agriculture. With this, Germany is positioning itself for effective protection against unfair competition,” said Elmar Baumann, managing director at VDB.
In the autumn proceedings against the anti-dumping duties initiated by Argentina before the WTO, the EC was granted a deadline up to 10 August, 2017, in the autumn of 2016.
The EC will now ask the WTO and Argentina to extend this deadline. The next meeting of the EC with Member States on which tariffs can be negotiated will take place on 7 September, 2017, according to the VDB.
“The European biodiesel industry will use the time gained to assist the EC to justify tariffs in accordance with the WTO guidelines,” Baumann said.
This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International.
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