Senators seek WTO challenge over European ethanol tariffs

Source: By Ben Geman, The Hill.Com • Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A bipartisan group of 14 farm-state senators is pressing the Obama administration to challenge new European duties on U.S. ethanol imports before the World Trade Organization.

In a letter to U.S. trade officials, the lawmakers call the penalties announced in February “unprecedented” and say that European officials failed to make the case that any specific producers or marketers are engaged in “dumping.”

“We believe this rule sets dangerous precedent for trade and trade remedies in advance of the well-publicized start of important trade talks between the United States and the European Union, and will dramatically and unilaterally change the boundaries and limits of international anti-dumping law,” states the April 29th letter to acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and eight others signed the letter.

European officials in February announced they would impose a tariff that amounts to $83.03 per metric ton of U.S. ethanol entering the European Union, according to U.S. ethanol groups that oppose the penalties.