WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 - A European Commission proposal Thursday to impose an anti-dumping duty of nearly 10 percent on U.S. ethanol brought into the EU has drawn a joint reaction of concern from the two primary ethanol producer trade groups here.

The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy said they are “troubled” by the EC’s recommendation of a 9.6-percent antidumping duty to its member states.

“We remain convinced that if all the facts are considered, the European Union will decide not to impose any antidumping duties on imports of ethanol produced in the United States,” the two groups said in a joint statement. “We continue to cooperate with the Commission’s investigation.”

The recommendation was issued in a “general disclosure document” that lays out the commission’s proposed ruling in an investigation that began a year ago at the request of the trade group’s European counterpart, the European Producers Union of Renewable Ethanol (ePURE).

The European ethanol manufacturers group last year asked for two investigations, one into U.S. ethanol subsidies and the second into charges that American producers were “dumping” their product into the continent at a cost so low as to do harm to the European biofuels market.

Earlier this year, the EC closed the anti-subsidy probe and rejected calls for a countervailing tariff against U.S. ethanol subsidized by the 45-cent Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, noting the so-called U.S. “blenders credit” expired at the end of 2011, shortly after ePURE filed its complaint.

But the commission did say it was going to register ethanol imports from the United States, a step seen by most analysts as an EC acknowledgement of the merits of ePURE’s complaint while stopping short of actually imposing a duty.

The European trade group called it a victory, noting that the registration will allow “for strict monitoring of imports” from the United States and will discourage U.S. policy makers from “reinstating the VEETC scheme retroactively” by entitling the EU to adopt provisional countervailing duties “if the U.S. scheme is reinstated.”

Today’s proposal, however, is a direct response to the anti-dumping complaint filed by ePURE. The European trade group said the EC “has officially acknowledged the damage caused to the EU industry by a significant increase of imports of ethanol from the USA both ‘in absolute terms and in terms of market share,’ and the negative impact that these imports have had on ethanol prices in the EU market and for EU ethanol producers.”

A decision on the antidumping tariff is expected sometime in February of next year.