the market in the EU. Some 90
percent of all biodiesel imported into the EU had come from
Argentina and Indonesia.
Reuters reported that the
EU had argued that Argentina was “dumping” or selling
biodiesel at below the cost of
production and harming local
duty is a protectionist tariff
that a domestic government
imposes on foreign imports
that it believes are priced
below fair market value.
However, the WTO said the
EU regulation at the heart
of the matter did not violate
WTO rules, Reuters reported.
Specifcally, the WTO panel
rejected Argentina’s claim
that a central article of the EU
regulation “as such” violated the WTO’s anti-dumping
agreement, Reuters noted, but
upheld other claims that the
EU had acted inconsistently
with the pact.
In a statement, the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said
it regarded the panel decision
as a frst episode in the legal
battle engaged by Argentina in the WTO and before the
European Court. The government of Argentina, the
EBB noted, initiated the proceeding at the WTO level in
December 2013, asking for
the annulment of the EU anti-dumping measures.
“We see this as excellent
news,” Luis Zubizarreta, head of Argentina’s biodiesel industry
chamber, CARBIO, told Reuters. “The European Union’s decision
regarding Argentine biodiesel was unjust,” he added. “Now we’ll
be able to reopen a market that we had developed very well.”
A European Commission (EC) statement after the ruling
noted that Argentine companies beneft from an unfair advan-
tage because they have access to raw materials at prices that
are artifcially low compared to the world market prices avail-
able to the EU biodiesel producers. The reason for this, the EC
statement noted, is high export taxes imposed by Argentina
and Indonesia on raw materials used in the biodiesel produc-
tion (soya beans and soybean oil in Argentina and palm oil in
Indonesia). The WTO investigation, the statement continued,
found that the dumping margin for Argentina was as much as
Reuters also noted that the EU anti-dumping duties were
imposed after then President Cristina Fernandez ordered the seizure of Argentina’s top energy company, YPF, from its previous
parent, Spain’s Repsol.
A USDA foreign agricultural service information report prepared by USDA experts working at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos
Aires noted that biodiesel production in Argentina is projected at 2. 33 billion liters in 2016. Biodiesel in Argentina is almost
exclusively made from soybean oil, the USDA report noted, with
local investments of over $1.5 billion since 2007, and production
capacity reaching a high last year of 5. 2 billion liters generated
from 38 biodiesel plants.
Until mid-2013, the USDA report noted, Spain was Argentina’s
primary biodiesel market. But late that year the EU implemented an average duty of 24. 6 percent on Argentine biodiesel due to
alleged dumping, which in practice meant closing of the market.
In late 2013, the USDA said, Argentine exports were redirected to the United States to supply biodiesel for the East Coast. In
2015, most of the approximately 450 million liters of that Argentine biodiesel was used as heating oil; and was levied with only a
4. 6 percent duty.
The EU, once the number one market for Argentine biodiesel
exports, the 2015 USDA report continued, is for all practical purposes currently closed due to these continued high anti-dumping
duties. Thus, the USDA expects that the U.S. biodiesel market will
be Argentina’s most active destination, with predicted exports in
2016 at 750 million liters.