A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman this week urging him to examine opportunities to reduce any tariffs on U.S. produced energy, including ethanol, during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-Tip) negotiations.
“The U.S. ethanol industry has been unfairly targeted by the EU for increased duties (on ethanol) which have subsequently eliminated U.S. share in the European market,” reads the letter from nine members of Congress. “Currently Europe cannot adequately produce enough ethanol for their own market without importing ethanol from foreign sources, such as the U.S.”
“As T-TIP negotiations progress toward completion,” they continued, “we are confident you can leverage access to all domestic energy sources, such as U.S. natural gas, crude, and ethanol in order to achieve a favorable outcome for these industries and the reduction or elimination of trade obstacles to market access in Europe.”
The European Commission imposed a 9.6 percent duty on U.S. ethanol over three years ago in response to an anti-dumping complaint lodged by European ethanol trade group ePURE. In May 2013, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy filed a complaint with the General Court in Luxembourg which is still being litigated challenging the Commission’s decision.
“The duties imposed were unjustified and blatantly protectionist,” says RFA CEO Bob Dinneen. “Sadly, the real losers in this are European consumers that have to pay more for motor fuel because the lowest-cost liquid fuel in the world — U.S. ethanol — has been targeted by their protectionist policy. Since Europe cannot produce sufficient domestic ethanol supply, and must import the fuel from foreign sources, including the U.S., it is time to see the duties removed.”