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U.S. Department of Commerce Proposes Penalties on Biodiesel Imports from Argentina, Indonesia

The agency found that the countries have violated international trade laws with their subsidies.

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August 25, 2017

​WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed preliminary duties on biodiesel shipments from Argentina and Indonesia. This is the result of a trade case brought by the National Biodiesel Board and 15 domestic biodiesel producers. The National Biodiesel Board received early notification because the trade association is a party to the trade case. The department has not yet formally announced this decision in the Federal Register.

The agency found that Argentina and Indonesia set up subsidies in violation of international trade laws and that penalties are needed to even out prices. This ruling is preliminary, which means that companies importing biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia will have to pay a cash deposit on the imports to the United States to cover potential future penalties. Cash deposit rates will range from 50.29% to 64.17% of the value of Argentinian biodiesel and from 41.06% to 68.28% for product from Indonesia.

For certain Argentinian imports, the penalty will be imposed retroactively so that the deposit rate will apply to those imports to the United States dating back 90 days from publication in the Federal Register. Normally, the penalty would begin the date the preliminary ruling is published.

Those groups opposing the ruling argue that it will raise fuel prices in the United States and ultimately lead to higher costs for the consumer, including goods transported by truck. “Cutting off Americans’ access to cleaner burning fuels, such as biodiesel, from foreign markets is bad day for the U.S.,” said David Fialkov, National Association of Truck Stop Operators vice president of government relations.

NACS is also concerned about the potential negative impact on limiting access to foreign supply of biodiesel and the effect it will have on the Renewable Fuel Standard. “We are looking at this ruling very closely and how this will affect the ability for fuel retailers to sell biodiesel to consumers and the impact it could have on renewable fuel market,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations.

The next step in the process for this ruling is that Commerce Department will take comments on the preliminary ruling and then it will issue a final decision, likely to come out next year.