International Trade Commission Moves Closer to Imposing Duties on Biodiesel Imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Dec. 5 made a final finding that biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia harm U.S. producers. The decision, coupled with last month's final countervailing duties determination by the Department of Commerce, paves the way for final countervailing duties orders by the end of December. NATSO disagrees with the outcome, preferring free trade policies, and maintains that limiting fuel marketers' access to supply from overseas will raise retail fuel prices.  The decision does, however, obviate the need for Congress to convert the biodiesel tax credit from a blender credit to a producer credit, as this change was designed to limit imports in the first place. 

The ITC unanimously found in favor of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition's position that the industry has suffered because of unfairly subsidized imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition petitioned in March to address what it called "a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers." The phrased "depressed prices" recognizes that the objective of the petition was to raise the price of domestically produced biodiesel, once it is subject to less overseas competition. This effort was led by domestic production companies such as Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

NATSO issued a statement after the decision was handed down stating that the decision was a bad outcome for consumers. 
"Fuel marketers throughout the country have successfully incorporated biodiesel into their fuel supply to lower the price that consumers pay for fuel," said David Fialkov, vice president of government affairs. "Today's decision inhibits their ability to do that."

"Biodiesel prices throughout the country will rise, as will the price truck drivers pay for diesel fuel," he predicted. "Biodiesel consumption in the United States will diminish, as EPA recently recognized when it finalized renewable fuel mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard without anticipating any growth in the industry."

Fialkov said that NATSO "looks forward to working with all interested parties toward pursuing policies that will lower fuel prices for consumers -- most immediately, this means Congress should extend and phase out the biodiesel blenders' tax credit."


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