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Argentinian biodiesel investigation initiated by European Commission

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The EU Commission has initiated an anti-subsidy investigation into whether Argentinian biodiesel exporters are benefitting from unfair subsidies. The move has been launched following a complaint in December from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB).

In 2013, the EU set anti-dumping duties on Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel of between 22 and 25.7%, claiming both countries were benefitting from unfair subsidies. In September 2017, the World Trade Organisation ruled that these anti-dumping duties on Argentinean biodiesel were ‘unjust’, and the EU cut the duties to between 4.5% and 8.1%.

At the time, the EBB vowed to challenge the WTO ruling. “What we are going to do is probably launch a type of proceeding to challenge the distortions that result particularly from the differential export tax,” Olivier Prost, a lawyer representing the EBB, told Reuters at the time.

EBB has consistently argued that the revised duties are ‘insufficient’ to challenge what it labels unfairly traded Argentinean biodiesel. The association for the European biodiesel industry argues that Argentinian biodiesel imports are resulting in significant damage to EU industries.

Earlier this week, it was widely reported that 600,000 tonnes of Argentinean biodiesel had entered the EU between September 2017 and mid-January 2018.

“The EU producers are facing a massive surge in biodiesel subsidised exports from Argentina, that may bring overall imports from Argentina well beyond 2-2,5 million tonnes over the year 2018: this would be unacceptable,” said Raffaello Garofalo, EBB’s secretary general.

“We are simply unable to compete with the heavily-subsidised, cheap Argentinean product, which is often sold at a price below biodiesel’s raw materials. We are witnessing a worsening of the déjà-vu – i.e. of the flooding of the EU biodiesel market with under-priced Argentinian SME that happened 5 years ago and soon in 2018 we may face the same situation also from Indonesia”