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French and German oilseed producers urge Commission to protect European biodiesel market

In a joint statement, the French Union of Oilseeds and Proteins Crops Producers (FOP) and the German Association for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) expressed disappointment over the European Commission (EC) decision to reduce anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina by September 28 and urge the EC to "quickly protect European Union (EU) market from Argentinian distorting practices."

In Europe, rapeseed is widely grown as a rotational crop. Germany and France are the two largest producers in the EU-28.

On September 7, Member State representatives narrowly approved the proposal by the EC to reduce by September 28 the customs duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. Both FOP and UFOP say that they “don’t understand this decision” and ask that the EC “quickly protect EU market from Argentinian distorting practices.”

FOP and UFOP argue that the duties imposed on Argentinian biodiesel had been implemented in 2013 were due to “unfair export practices” of Argentina giving them a competitive advantage on biodiesel market in EU.

The associations say that even if the legal dispute says that EU duties were not well calculated, the trade distortive practices are still there and will lead to a slight increase of Argentinian biodiesel import into the EU, which reached over 1.5 million tonnes of soy methyl ester (SME) prior to the anti-dumping duties in 2013.

“This European decision is no good news for European oilseed growers as the same case is pending with Indonesian biodiesel, 1 million tonnes and the United States recently imposed a punitive duty to Argentinian biodiesel for the same reasons as EU, unfair competition.”

Furthermore, FOP and UFOP are critical of the lack of coherent policies from the EC.

“The Commission cannot propose a reduction of EU production of biofuels from cultivating biomass with the motive of environmental issues at the same time as widely opening its markets to external biofuels and to genetically modified protein meal imports” the trade bodies point out.

Ultimately this policy discourages EU oilseed growers from keeping oilseeds in their crop rotation systems. Therefore FOP and UFOP demand a strong EU policy “promoting the environmental benefits within a circular economy of its farming and protecting its market from unfair competition”.

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