U.S. asked to slap duties
on biodiesel from Argentina, Indonesia
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[March 24, 2017]
By Michael Hirtzer and Chris Prentice
biodiesel producers on Thursday asked the U.S. government to impose
antidumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia
that it says have flooded the U.S. market and violated trade agreements.
The move by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) trade group comes after
two years of tension between U.S. and foreign producers over soaring
imports that the group says have threatened the profitability of
"Our goal is to create a level playing field to give markets, consumers
and retailers access to the benefits of true and fair competition," NBB
Chief Executive Officer Donnell Rehagen said in a statement.
The NBB filed its request with the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S.
International Trade Commission on behalf of U.S. biodiesel producers.
The Advanced Biofuels Association, a rival trade group, said the
allegations of illegal dumping were untrue. The group includes Louis
Dreyfus Co [AKIRAU.UL], which makes biodiesel in Argentina, and Wilmar
International Ltd <WLIL.SI>, a maker of biodiesel in Indonesia.
"The members of the Advanced Biofuels Association vehemently oppose this
action and expect these petitions' rejections," Michael McAdams,
president of the group, said in a statement.
The NBB has sought to stymie imports since the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency in 2015 allowed Argentine biodiesel imports to qualify
for U.S. tax credits as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Total U.S. imports rose to a record 916 million gallons (3.5 billion
liters) in 2016, according to U.S. government data published this week.
Argentina represented about two-thirds of U.S. foreign imports, followed
by Indonesia and Canada.
Total U.S. demand is 2 billion gallons for the fuel, made mostly from
The NBB said biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia rose 464
percent from 2014 to 2016 due to "illegal trade activities."
The petition claims Argentine biodiesel is dumped at about 23 percent
below market values and that Indonesian biodiesel is sold around 34
percent below. Dumping is aimed at gaining market share.
Should the Commerce Department agree with these claims, it would levy
preliminary antidumping duties in these percentages on the imported
products. Any duties would need to be upheld by the International Trade
Commission and an affirmative ITC decision would lock them in place for
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"In my local market, I have fuel blenders saying they can get Argentina
biodiesel at 30 cents (per gallon) less than I can offer," said Zach
Hamm, president of Triangle Biofuels Industries in North Carolina. Hamm
said he has slowed operations at his 5 million gallon per year plant
where he makes biodiesel from recycled cooking oil.
spokeswoman said the petition was in the works prior to the election of U.S.
President Donald Trump, who has taken a protectionist stance on business
Argentina's biodiesel association Carbio rebuffed the dumping accusations,
saying the NBB used a definition of dumping that had been rejected by the World
Argentina's Production Ministry, which includes the under-secretariat for
international trade, noted that the request came from the private sector.
"It doesn't mean the government will apply the measure," Gaston Sandler, a
spokesman for the ministry said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and Argentina's agriculture and foreign
ministries did not respond to requests for comment.
Nurwan, Indonesia's director general of foreign trade, said in Jakarta that the
world's top palm oil producer would "not be silent" on the matter, but would
work with associations and businesses to address the issue.
"If the U.S. government approves the recommendation, the Indonesian government
will cooperate and provide data required to prove that the producers'
accusations are incorrect," Nurwan said via a text message.
He said Indonesia had taken a similar approach with European Union anti-dumping
duties, which it is challenging via the WTO.
Futures for soyoil <BOc1>, used to make biodiesel, rose to a 2-1/2-week high on
the Chicago Board of Trade as chatter about the petition swirled, before
settling 0.30 cent lower at 33.22 cents per pound. Futures for palm oil
<1FCPOc1>, used for biodiesel production in Indonesia, fell about 2 percent to
2,771 ringgit, or $625.93 per tonne.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago and Chris Prentice in New York;
Additional reporting by David Lawder in Washington, Luc Cohen in Buenos Aires
and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta; Editing by Marguerita Choy and
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