EU: US Biodiesel slapped with duties applicable retrospectively

Category: WTO Sub-category: Anti Dumping
Document type: news


The European Union (EU) Member States of Regulations have introduced regulations preventing the circumvention of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on US biodiesel, in place since 2009. This confirmation came after an investigation by European Commission because of a complaint made by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) in June 2010. The EBB has welcomed this step.

The anti-circumvention measures adopted by the Council are:

  • Retroactively extending to August 13, 2010, the definitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties to imports of biodiesel consigned from Canada. In this case, the maximum combined anti-dumping and countervailing duty calculated during the main investigation will apply (€409,2/ton).
  • Retroactively extending to August 13th 2010 the definitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties to all imports of US biodiesel blends below the 20% threshold (B19, B7...). For US companies already investigated in 2009, the combined per-company duties will apply (ranging from €213,8/ton to €409,2/ton) while other US companies will be subjected to the highest combined duty (€409,2/ton), in proportion to the biodiesel content in the blend.

Since late 2006, the European market was severely affected by imports of highly subsidized and dumped biodiesel, known as B99, from the United States of America (USA). The "B99" blends have been sold in the European market as "pure biodiesel" and at a price lower than the raw materials purchased by the EU industry for producing biodiesel. As a result, the profitability of EU biodiesel producers was severely affected.

In March 2009, EU trade authorities imposed robust anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of biodiesel from the US. These measures have been in place for 5 years. Despite the EU duties, which were partially helpful in establishing favorable market conditions for the EU biodiesel producers, the biodiesel imported from the US continues to hurt the EU biodiesel industry. After March 2009, new patterns in the transatlantic biodiesel trade came into force, including the transshipment of US bio-diesel in third countries (particularly Canada) to conceal its US origin.

In August 2010, the Commission opened an investigation following an EBB complaint. According to the commission, the remedial effects of the duties taken in March 2009 had been affected both in terms of quantity and prices by B19 and lower blends imports as well as by imports of US biodiesel trans-shipped in Canada. However, the Commission investigation failed to give any due cause or economic justification to these practices, except avoiding the payment of the existing EU anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

In parallel, the European biodiesel industry has been working with the EU Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to address fraudulent US biodiesel imports into the EU. In case of established fraudulent practices, unpaid duties can be collected by EU authorities up to three years back, which would also entail heavy financial penalties.