US to EU biodiesel stormy

The relationship between the US and EU biodiesel industries is a sinking ship.

EU producers, voiced by the European Biodiesel Board, have raised questions over the activity of US biodiesel producers, suspecting them of exporting a new blend to Europe to avoid EU tariffs.

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) says US exporters of the fuel may have begun shipping a blend not covered by duties. The EU, the world’s biggest biodiesel market, imposed levies in March and five-year measures in July to counter US subsidies and price undercutting. This sunk traditional shipments worth $1 billion (€672 million) a year.

EU imports of the US biodiesel covered by the duties have fallen to almost zero since April.

Imports reached 6.3 metric tons between April and August this year compared with 815,436 tons during the same five-month period in 2008, Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, finds.

The EU imposed the duties as high as €237 a ton on US producers such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill after their share of the European market rose to 17.2% or 1.14 million tons in the 12 months through March 2008 from 0.1% in 2004. Those imports were worth €700 million in the 12 months through March 2008.

Around 140,000 tons of US biodiesel in the form of blends not covered by the duties have entered the EU since April.

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