OMAHA (DTN) -- Importers of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia into the United States will face preliminary duties, the U.S. Department of Commerce said in a preliminary antidumping determination handed down on Monday.
The cash deposit rates range from 54.36% to 70.05% for biodiesel from Argentina and 50.71% for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the exporter, according to the Commerce Department. The department expects to publish the preliminary determination in the Federal Register sometime next week.
"It is reassuring with each decision that the Commerce department is reviewing the data and facts at face value," said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board.
"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 2016, imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia were valued at an estimated $1.2 billion and $268 million, respectively, according to the Commerce Department.
Commerce officials are expected to announce the final determination by Jan. 3, 2018.
In April 2017, the Commerce Department initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations aimed at biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia in response to a petition filed by U.S. biodiesel industry interests.
In July 2017, the National Biodiesel Board 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.
A provision of antidumping and countervailing duties laws allows duties and imports to be imposed before a preliminary determination is made on subsidies and dumping allegations previously made by the industry in the United States.
In the July petition, the NBB requested relief in the form of retroactive duties. The action was designed to deter further imports. That 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 the claims in the petitions.
To determine if critical circumstances exist, the Commerce Department was required to find that 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 this year, the NBB filed petitions with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission, which allege significant increases in subsidized and dumped biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia have injured U.S. producers.
In written comments to the International Trade Commission, the Argentine government said the petition was based on "extremely limited" information and actually shows the U.S. industry was hardly harmed.
Argentina makes the case that U.S. producers never made a claim that imported biodiesel actually hurt profits. In addition, the government argues 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 National Biodiesel Board. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped about 145% following the filing of the petitions.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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