US review of Argentine biodiesel tariffs could revive halted exports

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After deciding to review its tariffs on Argentine biodiesel, the US may be changing the ‘poor’ fortune of exporters whose shipments from South American countries have been extremely low.

According to Reuters the US Department of Commerce announced that there was “just cause” to review the taxes that it applied towards the end of 2017 to Argentine biodiesel. At the time, access to the main market for Argentina’s product was cut off.

Reuters reports that the announcement prompted enthusiasm from Argentine biofuel exporters. This is because their shipments have been slowed down since September as the new main destination for Argentine biofuel, the European Union, is also considering adding tariffs.

Executive director of the Argentine Chamber of Biofuels (CARBIO) Victor Castro said: “This is a necessary first step, we are convinced that tariffs are a totally unfair measure and it is very important to be able to export to that market.”

The US National Biodiesel Board’s Fair Trade Coalition has urged Commerce to reject Argentina’s request and opposes Commerce’s initiation of the reviews, which could result in resetting the duty rates Commerce calculated only months ago.

NBB’s CEO Donnell Rehagen stated: “The Commerce Department has no basis for initiating this unprecedented review. Commerce has established procedures for conducting reviews with extensive fact-finding for the very purpose of revisiting antidumping and countervailing duty rates but has never used “changed circumstances” reviews for these purposes. Commerce’s initiation of these reviews just months after finding that Argentina has engaged in unfair trade practices creates a great deal of uncertainty for our industry at a time when the positive results of the original cases are just beginning to be realized.”

As it typically takes The Commerce Department’s changed circumstances review around 270 days, the final determination could come by August 2019.

The suggested changes are important as the US biodiesel market supports over 60,000 jobs nationwide and has more than $11 billion in economic impact, according to NBB.