Antidumping Win

U.S. slaps duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia because of illegal subsidies.

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Industry officials say imports from Argentina and Indonesia have hurt U.S. producers for years, Image by Getty Images Plus / iStock

U.S. importers of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia now face duties after the U.S. Department of Commerce determined the product was sold below fair market value.

The cash deposit rates range from 71.45 to 72.28% for biodiesel from Argentina and 34.45 to 64.73% for biodiesel from Indonesia. The rate will depend on the exporter. In 2016, imports of biodiesel from Argentina were valued at an estimated $1.2 billion, those from Indonesia at $268 million.

“It is reassuring with each decision that the Commerce Department is reviewing the data and facts at face value,” says Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “The law is clear, and violations of trade law shouldn’t be ignored at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of Americans employed or affected by biodiesel.”

In April 2017, the Commerce Department initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations aimed at biodiesel imports from the countries in response to a petition filed by U.S. biodiesel industry interests.

In July 2017, the NBB asked the Commerce Department to immediately slap duties on imports of Argentinian biodiesel, claiming in a petition that “critical circumstances” exist to warrant the action. In its petition, the board requested relief in the form of retroactive duties.

The action was designed to deter further imports, and it would allow the government to impose duties retroactively on imports reaching U.S. shores up to 90 days prior to the Commerce Department’s preliminary determinations on claims in the petitions.

To determine if critical circumstances existed, the Commerce Department was required to find there are “massive” imports in a relatively short period of time, as well as other legal criteria including whether those imports benefitted from illegal subsidies.

Earlier last year, the NBB had filed petitions with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging significant increases in subsidized and dumped biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia had injured U.S. producers.

In written comments to the International Trade Commission, the Argentine government says the petition was based on “extremely limited” information and actually shows the U.S. industry was hardly harmed. The country’s government pointed out that U.S. producers never made a claim that imported biodiesel hurt profits. In addition, the Argentine government argued U.S. producers alone were unable to fulfill the Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements from 2014 to 2016.

Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by about 464% from 2014 to 2016, according to the NBB. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina jumped about 145% following the filing of the petitions.

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Todd Neeley