Biodiesel in Trump’s trade crosshairs

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Commerce Department has raised alarm bells for U.S. soy and biodiesel producers by granting a request from the Argentinian government that could reverse a previous finding by the Trump administration that the country had engaged in illegal dumping practices.

“The Commerce Department has no basis for initiating this unprecedented review,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO, the lead trade group for the soy-based renewable diesel fuel industry. “Commerce has established procedures for conducting reviews with extensive fact-finding for the very purpose of revisiting antidumping and countervailing duty rates but has never used ‘changed circumstances’ reviews for these purposes.”

Commerce opened the review on Nov. 5 after Argentina requested that it take a renewed look at its biodiesel dumping practices in a “changed circumstances” petition.

“Commerce’s initiation of these reviews just months after finding that Argentina has engaged in unfair trade practices creates a great deal of uncertainty for our industry at a time when the positive results of the original cases are just beginning to be realized,” Rehagen continued in a statement issued late Thursday.

He explained that the U.S. biofuel industry had picked up production in the months after the Trump administration determined Argentina had been flooding the U.S. with cheap biodiesel.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s annual biodiesel mandate requires that the fuel be blended in the nation’s diesel fuel supplies. Trump has said he supports the EPA mandate.