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EU’s initiation of US ethanol anti-dumping expiry review welcomed by ePURE

The European Commission (EC) has initiated an expiry review of the anti-dumping duties, in place since February 23, 2013, on imports of fuel ethanol originating in the United States (US). The review is an important step toward the renewal of existing anti-dumping measures and ensuring EU industry can "compete on a level playing field" says the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE).

Emmanuel Desplechin has been appointed new Secretary General of ePURE replacing Robert Wright (photo courtesy ePURE).

Emmanuel Desplechin Secretary-General of ePURE welcomes the European Commission’s notice of initiation of an expiry review of the anti-dumping measures applicable to imports of bioethanol originating in the US (photo courtesy ePURE).

According to ePURE, the anti-dumping duty in place since February 23, 2013, on US fuel ethanol exports to the EU has “proven effective” in preventing continued dumping by the US industry but was set to expire after an initial 5-year period. Removal of the measures would say ePURE, result in the resumption of massive and unfair imports of ethanol from the US, leading once again to “severe material injury” to the EU industry.

In November 2017, European ethanol producers via ePURE submitted a request to extend the measures. Since the imposition of the measures by the EU in 2013, the US ethanol industry has continued to expand, adding over 6 billion litres of production capacity. Yet ePURE notes that the US fuel ethanol market has not expanded at the same rate, resulting in a “staggering overcapacity” of more than the EU’s entire annual fuel ethanol consumption.

The risk that the US industry would resume dumping once the measures are lifted is becoming increasingly acute. Other major US export markets are “retaliating against unfair trading practices” by the US industry. ePURE highlights that in 2017, as a direct response to massive US exports, China increased its import tariff for ethanol from 5 percent to 40 percent, Brazil increased its import tariff from 0 percent to 20 percent for imports exceeding 150 million litres per quarter, and Peru initiated its own anti-dumping investigation against the US

With other export markets closing their doors to dumped US ethanol, coupled with a saturated US fuel ethanol market at home, U.S. exporters will be looking for alternative export opportunities for close to 1.5 billion litres of product. If only a fraction of this volume were to be diverted to the EU market, it would severely damage the EU industry, putting at risk the 50 000 direct and indirect jobs linked to renewable ethanol production in Europe said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE.

The anti-dumping measures will remain in place during the European Commission expiry review investigation, which will be concluded within 15 months.

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