WASHINGTON, March 29, 2016 - A World Trade Organization dispute panel has sided with Argentina on several of its complaints against the European Union related to the EU’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on the South American country’s biodiesel exports.

The EU implemented anti-dumping duties on imports of Argentine biodiesel in 2013, essentially shutting down trade, after the European Biodiesel Board charged that Argentina was selling the fuel at prices below the cost of production. Argentina argued that the EU’s actions were protectionist while the EU said domestic tax breaks allowed Argentinian producers to sell biodiesel at artificially low prices, putting European producers at an unfair disadvantage.

While the WTO ruled against the duties the EU placed on Argentina’s biodiesel, the dispute panel rejected some claims of mistreatment levelled by Buenos Aires. Both sides have 60 days to appeal.

An Argentine official said the WTO’s ruling was a major victory. The ruling “clearly shows we are in the right,” the official said.

Before the anti-dumping duties, the EU was a major destination for Argentina’s biodiesel exports. Now, much of those exports are flowing to the U.S., a fact that continues to upset U.S. producers.

The National Biodiesel Board says it expects Argentina to ship up to 600 million gallons of biodiesel to the U.S. this year. Before Argentina was blocked out of the EU, it shipped about 450 million gallons there annually, according to the NBB.

Argentina is the world's top producer of biodiesel, which is primarily made from soybean oil.

Anne Steckel, NBB's vice president of  federal affairs, said NBB has maintained for years that Argentina’s "distorted biodiesel market and export tax schemes" lead to high volumes of below-market biodiesel imports from Argentina, including to the United States.
"The WTO has largely affirmed the EU’s determination that such market distortion resulted in dumped and injurious imports from Argentina," Steckel said in an e-mailed statement. "NBB remains concerned about the impact of Argentinian imports in the US and will continue to assess options for addressing these imports."
(This story was updated at 2:15 p.m. on March 29 with comment from NBB's Anne Steckel.)