Argentina, Indonesia Hit With EU Tariffs on Biodiesel

The European Union imposed five-year tariffs on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, expanding renewable-energy trade barriers after similar EU import levies against the U.S.

The duties punish Argentinian and Indonesian exporters of biodiesel, a type of biofuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats for use in diesel engines, for allegedly selling it in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. Molinos Rio de la Plata SA, Aceitera General Deheza SA and Pelita Agung Agrindustri are among the companies targeted by the levies as high as 245.67 euros ($332.05) a metric ton, or 25.7 percent.

EU producers including Verbio AG in Germany, Diester Industrie SAS in France and Novaol Srl in Italy suffered “material injury” as a result of dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia, the 28-nation bloc said today in Brussels. The five-year duties are more than twice as high as provisional levies imposed in May and will take effect after publication in the EU Official Journal by Nov. 28.

The anti-dumping duties to curb competition for European biodiesel producers in their 12 billion-euro home market highlight tensions accompanying EU efforts to increase the use of biofuels, a renewable energy from crops such as rapeseed, corn, wheat and sugar, amid a crackdown on fossil fuels blamed for global warming. Ethanol is another kind of biofuel.

The EU decided in 2008 to require at least 10 percent of land-transport energy in each member country to come from renewable sources led by biofuels beginning in 2020. This is part of a goal of more than doubling the total share of renewable energy in the EU to an average 20 percent.

Import Taxes

In 2009, the EU hit the U.S. with five-year anti-dumping duties on biodiesel. The bloc also applied separate anti-subsidy levies on American manufacturers such as Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Cargill Inc. The import taxes brought $1 billion a year of trade to a halt.

Argentinian and Indonesian exporters increased their combined share of the EU biodiesel market to 19.3 percent in the 12 months through June 2012 from 9.1 percent in 2009, according to the bloc. Indonesian exporters gained ground at a faster pace, raising their European market share to 8.5 percent from 1.4 percent over the period, according to the EU.

The duties are the outcome of an inquiry that the EU opened in August 2012 after a dumping complaint by the European Biodiesel Board on behalf of manufacturers that account for more than 60 percent of EU production of biodiesel.

Five-Year Duties

The five-year duties against Argentina range from 216.64 euros a ton on Aceitera General Deheza to 245.67 euros a ton on exporters including Molinos Rio de la Plata. That compares to provisional levies from 65.24 euros a ton on Molinos Rio de la Plata to 104.92 euros a ton on exporters including Aceitera General Deheza.

Depending on the company, the five-year levies against Indonesia range from 76.94 euros a ton to 178.85 euros a ton. That compares to provisional duties from 24.99 euros a ton to 83.84 euros a ton. One Indonesian exporter, Ciliandra Perkasa PT, had a zero provisional duty rate and faces a five-year levy of 76.94 euros a ton.

The EU is also threatening to impose separate anti-subsidy duties on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. The bloc began a probe in November 2012 into possible trade-distorting government aid for Argentinian and Indonesian exporters and is due to decide by Dec. 10 on any five-year levies to counter subsidies. No provisional anti-subsidy duties have been imposed against the two countries.

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