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NBB considers legal options on surging Argentinian biodiesel imports

According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), data show that "dumped and subsidized" biodiesel imports from Argentina continue unabated since the filing of trade petitions earlier in March this year. With significant volumes purported to be destined for US ports the coming months, NBB is considering other legal actions to stem the flow.

In a statement, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), a United States (US) trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries, says that new data show and, in fact, have further surged into the US. In March this year, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition filed petitions with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that increased volumes of subsidized and dumped biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia have taken market share away from US manufacturers and injured US producers.

On June 2, a business intelligence company reported that biodiesel exports from Argentina in April reached a five-month high, all of which was shipped to the United States. Shipment tracking information shows that significant volumes are expected in June.

These reports indicate much higher volumes than were seen in January through March, which according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) ranged from 6 to 23 million US gallons (≈22.7 to 87 million litres).

Subsequent to the filing of the petition, Argentina substantially reduced its export taxes on biodiesel, and then lifted those taxes this month—contributing to the increase in shipments and exacerbating already challenging circumstances for US producers.

We’ve received information of potentially 75 million gallons (≈ 283 million litres) of biodiesel flooding our ports soon—a significant increase from the import levels we saw in January, February and March. We filed the petition to level the playing field for US producers, and the NBB Fair Trade Coalition will use every legal tool available to address these unfairly traded imports, said Anne Steckel Vice President of Federal Affairs at NBB on behalf of the NBB Fair Trade Coalition.

Invoke “finding of critical circumstances”

Among these potential tools is a request for a finding of critical circumstances, which allows the government to impose duties retroactively on imports reaching US shores up to 90 days prior to the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determinations on the claims in the petitions.

The US Department of Commerce is expected to announce its preliminary determinations regarding the estimated rates of subsidisation and dumping on or about August 22 and October 20 this year respectively.

According to NBB, the Argentinian government has adopted numerous subsidy programs benefiting Argentinian biodiesel producers. With such support, Argentinian biodiesel producers have become dominant exporters and taken an increasingly greater share of the US market through dumped prices. This has negatively impacted the financial condition of the US industry, causing American producers to pull back on investments in what continues to be a growing market.

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