Commerce to issue countervailing duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel


   The International Trade Commission (ITC) in a 4-0 vote said U.S. biodiesel producers are harmed by imports of these same products from Argentina and Indonesia by receiving government subsidies to encourage their export to the United States.
   With this determination, the Commerce Department will now issue countervailing duty orders on these imports from Argentina and Indonesia. 
   The petitioner for this countervailing duty investigation is the Washington-based National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition and its members. There were about 25 U.S. biodiesel producers, which in 2016 shipped $3.6 billion of the total $5.7 billion of the biodiesel consumed in the United States that year, ITC said.
   “U.S. energy policy sought to create a level playing field for domestic and imported biodiesel, but foreign government subsidies have made it nearly impossible for U.S. producers to compete,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen in a statement. “We are gratified that countervailing duty orders will contribute to leveling the playing field such that the domestic industry has the opportunity to produce at the levels it knows it can.”
   According to the board, biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia rose 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the industry’s Commerce investigation petitions. “These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market,” the National Biodiesel Board said.
   Biodiesel can be manufactured from a variety of materials, such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, and can be used in existing diesel engines without modification.

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