US-EU Biodiesel War About to Heat Up

John Davis

The fight between American and European biodiesel makers is heating up. European biodiesel producers are urging the European Union to hit U.S. biodiesel with punitive fines as the EU is set to open anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imports of the green fuel from the United States.

This story from AFP says this comes after the European Commission started looking into complaints that the US was hurting Europe’s biodiesel industry:

The European Biodiesel Board called for the investigation in April, complaining that the European market was being flooded with US exports of a 99-percent biodiesel blend, which can receive a subsidy of 300 dollars (192 euros) per tonne.

On top of the US aid, exports of the so-called B99 blend are also eligible for a subsidy in Europe as well.

The lobby said the subsidies were squeezing European producers’ profit margins, putting most of them out of business and leaving capacity idle.

But American biodiesel producers aren’t taking this lying down. Manning Feraci, the National Biodiesel Board’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, has responded:

“The allegations of harm leveled by the European biodiesel industry in these trade complaints are baseless. It is disingenuous and hypocritical that several of the European biodiesel companies that joined in the complaints are the very entities actively involved in the trade of U.S. biodiesel.

“The European biodiesel industry is not being harmed by U.S. competition. High feedstock costs, changes to EU member policies – and in some cases – poor business practices are the true issues facing European biodiesel producers. It is unfortunate that the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) has found it politically expedient to blame the U.S. biodiesel industry instead of focusing its efforts on the true challenges facing its membership.

Feraci goes on to characterize the European reaction as a “protectionist ploy.”

Biodiesel, International