The Commerce Department today took the final step to authorizing retaliatory action against imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, setting the final rates importers must pay to bring the biofuel into the U.S.
Refiners looking to use product imported from those two countries will now be required to pay cash deposits to do so. The department announced rates of between 60.44 percent and 86.41 percent for Argentine imports and 92.52-276.65 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia. The actual rate depends on the specific foreign producer or exporter supplying the biodiesel.
In a statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the move "allows U.S. producers of biodiesel to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of foreign producers dumping into the domestic markets."
The decision is the final step in a case brought by the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition, a cadre of groups led by the National Biodiesel Board. In a statement, Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, said the decision “provides room for the domestic biodiesel industry to flourish and produce more volumes” of the biofuel.
“The biodiesel industry already deals with policy uncertainties, such as lapsing tax credits and annual unpredictability with the Renewable Fuel Standard, so we appreciate seeing illegally dumped imports remedied,” he added.
Under the ruling, the department will direct the deposits to be collected after the final determination of rates is published in the Federal Register next week. This move comes after earlier determinations that imports from Argentina and Indonesia were unfairly subsidized, which Commerce announced in November.
NBB and other groups originally brought the case after what they saw as "a flood of subsidized and dumped imports" from the two countries. They contended that market share was lost for U.S. producers and prices of the biofuel were depressed as a result of imports from Argentina and Indonesia jumping 464 percent between 2014 and 2016. U.S. biodiesel stakeholders allege the imports caused their domestic market share to drop 18.3 percentage points.
(Story updated at 6:38 to include Ross statement.)