E.U. panel endorses proposed anti-dumping tariff on U.S. ethanol

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012

A proposal to set a nearly 10 percent tariff on U.S. ethanol imports is making its way through the European Commission.

Yesterday, the commission’s Antidumping Advisory Committee endorsed the 9.6 percent duty, which was proposed earlier this month as part of an ongoing investigation into accusations that the U.S. ethanol industry was dumping its product into the European market. The tariff still needs to be approved by the commission as a whole.

U.S. ethanol trade groups, which dispute the dumping claims, said yesterday’s approval was only a “step in an ongoing process” and that the “matter is not final.”

“While we are troubled by the Commission’s preliminary decision, we remain convinced that this matter lacks the merit necessary for imposing such a duty,” the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy said in a joint statement, “and that, when all the facts are considered, the European Union will rightly decide not to impose any antidumping duties on imports of ethanol produced in the United States.”

The commission last year began the investigation after a petition from the major European ethanol trade group, the European Renewable Energy Association, or ePURE. The group asked the commission to probe both U.S. biofuel tax incentives and whether U.S. producers were flooding the European market (Greenwire, Dec. 7).

U.S. fuel ethanol exports to E.U. member states rose from about 30 million gallons in 2010 to about 70 million gallons in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. During that time, though, Brazil greatly decreased its ethanol exports to the European Union because of a poor sugar harvest.