E.U. expands tariff on U.S. shipments

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014

The European Commission has decided to extend a nearly 10 percent anti-dumping duty to U.S. ethanol entering the European Union through other nations.

The commission had imposed the duty in February 2013 after an investigation into dumping claims made by the European Renewable Fuels Association (ePURE).But until now, U.S. ethanol exporters were able to get around the tariff by shipping ethanol to Norway, where it was blended with gasoline and sent to the European Union. The commission yesterday decided to impose the tariff on all U.S. ethanol entering the European Union, no matter where it was shipped first.

In a statement, ePURE applauded the commission’s decision. The group had asked the commission to extend the tariff, charging that U.S. producers were circumventing the duty by shipping through Norway.

The solution “puts an immediate end to these unfair trade practices and shields the E.U. industry from further injury,” ePURE Secretary-General Rob Vierhout said.

U.S. ethanol producers have questioned the European Commission’s investigation into dumping and have been highly critical of the tariff. Because of the tariff, U.S. producers have sought new and emerging markets for their product; the United States is now selling more ethanol to Asia than to Europe (Greenwire, Feb. 21).

Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, two U.S. ethanol trade groups, have challenged the tariff in the General Court in Luxembourg.

The tariff “was not justified. It’s unprecedented in international trade law,” Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said. “It makes no sense, the basis for it, at all. Certainly in our country we don’t have duties and tariffs on imported ethanol.”