D.O.C. weighs in on Argentina and Indonesia biodiesel exports

by Jay Sjerven
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The U.S. Department of Commerce on Aug. 22 announced affirmative preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty investigations related to Indonesian and Argentine exports of biodiesel to the United States.
 
 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce on Aug. 22 announced affirmative preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty investigations related to Indonesian and Argentine exports of biodiesel to the United States. The Commerce Department determined Argentine biodiesel exporters received subsidies of 50.29% to 64.17%, and Indonesian biodiesel reporters received subsidies of 41.06% to 68.28%. The department also determined critical circumstances exist in both investigations, allowing for the collection of duties for a retroactive period of 90 days prior to publication of the preliminary determinations in the Federal Register.

The Commerce Department will instruct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia based on the subsidization rates indicated in its preliminary determinations.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to announce its final countervailing duty determinations on Nov. 7.

If the Commerce Department makes affirmative final determinations of subsidization and the International Trade Commission makes affirmative final injury determinations, the Commerce Department will issue countervailing duty determination orders. If the department makes negative final determinations of subsidization or the I.T.C. makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued. The I.T.C. is scheduled to make its final injury determinations approximately 45 days after the Commerce Department issues its final determinations, if affirmative.

“The U.S. values its relationships with Argentina and Indonesia, but even friendly nations must play by the rules,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The subsidization of goods by foreign governments is something that the Trump administration takes very seriously, and we will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of this preliminary determination.”

In 2016, imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia were valued at an estimated $1.2 billion and $268 million, respectively.

The petitioner in the case is the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition, an ad hoc association composed of the National Biodiesel Board and 15 domestic producers of biodiesel.

“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, National Biodiesel Board. “We’re grateful that the Commerce Department has taken preliminary steps that will allow our industry to compete on a level playing field.”
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