EU to impose antidumping tariffs on US biodiesel

Mar 09, 2009 01:00 AM

In an effort to support their biodiesel producers, the European Union governments on March 3 voted to impose temporary antidumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on imports of US biodiesel.
The vote follows repeated complaints from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) over US subsidies for its domestic biodiesel producers. From March 13, US firms exporting biodiesel into the EU will have to pay tariffs for an initial six months, ranging from EUR 26 to EUR 41 per 100 kg. Once the duties have been in place for six months, the European Commission can propose that the tariffs be made permanent. Such a move would have to be approved by EU governments and could be a troublesome spot for EU-US relations.

Both the EU and the new US administration have vowed to push ahead with green energy. Many companies across the EU have abandoned or halted biofuel projects because of the low price of oil and the import of "B99" subsidised biofuel from the US which nearly doubled last year.
The import of what is called "B99" -- biodiesel blended with small amounts of mineral diesel in the US -- has led to the cancellation of plans at France's biggest biofuel plant to open two new units. In Germany, Europe's largest bio-diesel maker, after promoting pure biodiesel with generous tax breaks, the government reversed its policy, throwing the sector into turmoil.

The approval of the import duties was welcomed by EU biodiesel producers, who claim that the support the US provides to its biofuels industry has made their products much less competitive in the European market.
"This will re-establish a level playing field and put an end to unacceptable and artificial prices created by US biodiesel producers," EBB Secretary General Raffaello Garofalo was quoted as saying.

US President Barack Obama promised in a speech to US Congress on February 24 to "end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them," but made no specific reference to biofuels producers.
Obama has signalled in the past that he wishesto continue to support domestic biofuels manufacturers.

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