Investigation into biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia gains momentum

The US International Trade Commission has voted to continue the US Commerce Department’s investigation into biodiesel fuels imported from Argentina and Indonesia.

In April 2017, the Commerce Department launched a probe into biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia following claims from domestic producers that dumping and unfair subsidies had allowed imported biofuels to flood the US market.

The International Trade Commission has now voted 5-0 to proceed with the trade petition brought by a coalition of US biodiesel producers. The next step is for the Commerce Department to decide whether to impose preliminary countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties. A decision on the former is expected around 16 June, the latter around 30 August.

Renewable Energy Group (REG), the largest producer of advanced biofuel in the US, welcomed the unanimous decision.

"Today's unanimous vote by the ITC is a key step in stopping unfair biodiesel trade practices that significantly harm US biodiesel producers and American jobs” said Chad Stone, REG’s chief financial officer. “While we welcome healthy and fair competition, we cannot ignore unfair trade practices that threaten the domestic biodiesel industry that supports tens of thousands of American jobs, promotes energy security and improves our environment."

Stone testified before the ITC in April, as part of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition.

Prices of biomass-based diesel (D4) renewable fuel credits (RINs) for the current year traded from $1.01 to $1.045 each, rising in the wake of the vote, according to Reuters.

Ray Bradbury, president of biodiesel at biofuel producers Archer Daniels Midland, told Reuters: "The facts clearly show that Argentina and Indonesia are engaging in unfair trade practices, and we are confident that duties will be imposed when the final decision is made,"

In 2016, the US imported 916 million gallons (3.5 billion litres) of biodiesel, accounting for almost half of the country’s biodiesel demand. Imports from Argentina accounted for around two thirds of that amount, followed closely by Indonesia and Canada.

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