For the last few months the European biodiesel industry has insisted that the European Commission enforce the implementation of provisional countervailing import duties on 'unfair' biodiesel imports from Argentina. The legal deadline in which to do so is 31 October 2018. The provisional duties that are currently in place, as well as the eventual definitive duties, are deemed by the biodiesel industry to be vital for the future of the trade and production of EU biodiesel.
An official hearing took place on 18 October between officials from the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, and a significant number of representatives from the EU biodiesel industry.
Industry bodies concerned about the reluctance of EU authorities to defend the legitimate interests of the EU biodiesel sector include; the EU biodiesel industry, EU farmers’ associations and the EU oilseeds transformation industry. These EU associations are worried about how EU authorities seem to be disinterested by the massive amounts of unfair imports from Argentina.
Despite a registration system for all imports being in operation since June 2018, trade flows from Argentina reached an all time high in July and August of this year. Import highs of 241,000 tonnes were recorded in July, which represented 25% of the overall EU market share in that month. However, over the past 12 months subsidised Argentine biodiesel imported to the EU has represented a total of 1,622,000 tonnes and, according to the European Biodiesel Board is being sold at prices below the actual cost of the raw materials. This cut in costs has heavily affected EU producer’s profitability.
Towards the end of the hearing EBB President Ms. Kristell Guizouarn stated “We made clear again with the Commission that there is no reason not to impose provisional duties and that duties are absolutely needed to defend our EU industry from unfair imports coming from Argentina.”
She continued, “As a matter of principle if all conditions are met, as in this case, the Commission should impose such measures.”