Commerce Dept Finds Unfairly Subsidized Biodiesel Exports

Cindy Zimmerman

The preliminary determination of the U.S. Department of Commerce is that exporters of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia did receive “countervailable subsidies” and may allow for collection of retroactive duties.

“The U.S. values its relationships with Argentina and Indonesia, but even friendly nations must play by the rules,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The department determined that both countries subsidized exports by as much as 68 percent, and that “critical circumstances exist” that would pave the way for imposing 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 U.S. biodiesel producers,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board, on behalf of the NBB Fair Trade Coalition.

As a result of Commerce’s ruling, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries once the preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register sometime next week and rates for Argentina will apply retroactively 90 days from the date of the notice. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions.

Renewable Energy Group (REG), the nation’s largest biodiesel producer, called the preliminary determination a victory. Interim President and CEO Randy Howard issued the following statement after the announcement:

“This should give American biodiesel producers the opportunity to make more cleaner-burning advanced biofuel here at home,” said REG Interim President and CEO Randy Howard. As we and others have testified to the EPA and the Administration during the public comment period on the RVO’s earlier this month, our domestic industry can easily increase production to match volumes similar to what we have seen from Argentina and Indonesia.”

Biodiesel, Trade