U.S. biodiesel industry protests European trade duties

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014

The U.S. biodiesel industry this week challenged trade duties that it says have blocked exports to Europe since 2009.

In comments filed yesterday, the National Biodiesel Board called on the European Commission to let the duties expire at the end of the year. The duties, first imposed by Europe in 2009, were slated to expire this year, but the commission is reviewing whether to reinstate them at the behest of the European biodiesel industry.

According to NBB, the trade duties have effectively blocked exports of U.S. biodiesel to the European Union.

“We have presented a strong case for ending these protectionist barriers that are unfairly hurting U.S. biodiesel producers even as European producers are taking advantage of the U.S. market,” Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, said in a statement. “As we speak, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the U.S., with significant policy support, while at the same time the European market has been cut off from U.S. producers.”

After an investigation that was completed in 2009, European officials found that U.S. exports of biodiesel were unfairly hurting European producers. The European Commission levied five-year trade duties ranging from €213 ($269) a metric ton to €409 a metric ton on imports of U.S. biodiesel.

The European Biodiesel Board has urged the European Commission to keep imposing the duties, warning that the U.S. industry is still a “persistent threat” to the E.U. biodiesel market.

“Should the anti-dumping and countervailing duties cease to apply, the E.U. biodiesel industry would certainly witness the recurrence of the situation from five years ago,” the European board said recently. “Back then, the heavily subsidized U.S. biodiesel flooded the E.U., causing severe financial damage to our domestic producers.”

The European industry argues that the $1-a-gallon tax credit given to biodiesel producers in the United States unfairly skews the market — though that credit is currently expired along with a host of other U.S. renewable energy tax incentives.