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US biodiesel industry win preliminary determination on biodiesel imports

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition has announced that it has won a preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) determination from the US Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding subsidized biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The DOC found that both countries provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the US trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries announced August 22 that it has won a preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) determination from the US Department of Commerce (DOC). The petition was filed on March 23 with the DOC and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which is made up of the National Biodiesel Board and US biodiesel producers.

According to a statement, the DOC found that Argentina and Indonesia provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules. In addition, it found “critical circumstances” to address the post-petition “surge of imports” from Argentina, paving the way for the imposition of retroactive duties, going back to May 2017.

The Commerce Department has recognized what this industry has known all along—that foreign biodiesel producers have benefited from massive subsidies that have severely injured US biodiesel producers. We’re grateful that the Commerce Department has taken preliminary steps that will allow our industry to compete on a level playing field, said Doug Whitehead, Chief Operating Officer of the National Biodiesel Board.

As a result of DOC’s ruling, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 50.29 to 64.17 percent for biodiesel from Argentina, and 41.06 to 68.28 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved.

Cash deposit requirements will be imposed when this preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register sometime next week. In addition, based on DOC’s “critical circumstances” finding, these rates for Argentina will apply retroactively 90 days from the date of the Federal Register notice.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for US producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from US manufacturers.

Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions and according to NBB, these “surging, low-priced imports” prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused US producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.

Between the preliminary and final determinations, the DOC will audit the foreign producers and governments to confirm the accuracy of their data submissions. Parties will file briefs on issues arising from the agency’s preliminary countervailing duty determinations, and the DOC will hold a hearing. Preliminary determinations in the companion antidumping investigations are due to be issued in October. Final DOC determinations will be issued later this year, or in early 2018, with a final determination by the ITC soon thereafter.

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