E.U. ends probe of U.S. subsidies

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The European Commission has formally decided to not impose countervailing duties on American ethanol producers, ending a yearlong investigation of U.S. subsidies.

In a decision published yesterday in the Official Journal of the European Union, the commission wrote that it based its ruling on the expiration of the U.S. ethanol industry’s blenders tax credit at the end of last year. All other subsidies on the industry, it wrote, were below the minimum level needed to impose duties.

The European Commission is also ending its requirement made earlier this year that U.S. ethanol producers be registered in order to export their products to Europe.

U.S. biofuel groups today cheered the news, which was expected.

“It is good and right that the European Commission has formalized in writing its decision not to impose provisional countervailing duties on the ethanol produced in the United States,” trade groups Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy said in a joint statement.

The commission began the investigation in November 2011 after receiving a petition from ePURE, Europe’s major renewable fuels trade organization. The group said U.S. subsidies were creating an unfair advantage that benefited American ethanol companies.

In conjunction with the request to investigate U.S. subsidies, ePURE also asked that the commission launch an investigation into whether U.S. producers were dumping ethanol onto the European market. That investigation is still ongoing, and earlier this month, the commission proposed setting a nearly 10 percent anti-dumping tariff on U.S. ethanol imports (Greenwire, Dec. 20).