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Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

Commerce Dept. Imposes Steep Duties on Biodiesel Imports

Category: Imports, Trade Policy

Preliminary determination in AD/CVD investigations sets rates as high as 68 percent for duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. Duties are applied 90 days retroactively to Argentine shipments.

The Department of Commerce has determined that exporters of soybean-based biodiesel in Argentina and Indonesia have been supplying their product to the U.S. market at artificially low prices thanks to their governments’ subsidies.

The August 21 decision is an initial outcome of antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations initiated by the International Trade Administration (ITA) in response to petitions filed by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition in March.

According to the NBB, subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia have resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for U.S. producers. Biodiesel imports from these two countries surged by 464% from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from the domestic industry.

As a result of Commerce’s ruling, importers of Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel are required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries, effective August 28, the date of notice in the Federal Register. The deposit rates, based on the ITA’s preliminary calculations of the countervailable subsidies received by the exporters, are summarized in this table:

Biodiesel Imports: Table of Subsidy Rates for Argentina and Indonesia

In addition, the rates on Argentine biodiesel are to be applied retroactively 90 days from the Federal Register notice. These additional duties are imposed to address a surge in Argentine biodiesel imports after the NBB petition was filed. Our trade data captures the sharp increase in shipments:

Biodiesel Imports: Post-AD/CVD-Petition Surge from Argentina

The Argentina Biofuels Chamber (Carbio) told Reuters that the new duties will price the Argentine product out of the U.S. market: “The compensatory duties imposed result in an immediate stoppage of sales to the United States, with a clear detriment to the entire soybean chain in Argentina.”

According to Carbio, biodiesel is Argentina’s main export product to the U.S., accounting for US$1.24 billion – 2.1% of the total value of Argentina’s exports – in 2016.

As our data illustrates, Argentina is far and away the leading source of imported biodiesel in the U.S. Argentina was the source for 83.94% by volume of biodiesel in first-half 2017, the period including the post-NBB-petition surge. Argentina’s share of these imports in first-half 2016 was 51.44%.

Biodiesel Imports: Top 5 Countries of Origin 2015-17

The NBB says that U.S. domestic production can cover any shortfalls in supply resulting from a halt in biodiesel imports from Argentina, according to the Reuters report. At the same time, trade group Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) cautions that the duties will raise fuel prices.

Over the next months, Commerce will be auditing exporter data and confirming its rate calculations. A final determination in the CVD investigations could come as soon as November 6. This deadline may change if the NBB Coalition asks Commerce to align the CVD investigations schedule with the AD investigations.



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Date posted: September 1, 2017


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