First Steps Taken on Biodiesel Trade Case

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) held a staff conference last week in Washington, D.C. as part of its preliminary determination phase in response to the petition filed by the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition.  As part of the staff conference, petitioners and opponents presented testimony and answered questions from the ITC staff regarding the petition’s allegations that imports from Argentina and Indonesia are violating U.S. trade laws by flooding the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) presented testimony, along with representatives of several U.S. biodiesel companies. Parties opposing the petition, including importers and producers of Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel also presented testimony and responded to the ITC staff’s questions. The staff conference is one of the initial steps in the ITC investigation, which is expected to issue a preliminary decision in early May.

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a notice that it is formally initiating its antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The Commerce Department found that the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition petitions demonstrated sufficient industry support to initiate the investigations. The Commerce Department also indicated that, “…based on the data provided by the petitioner, there is reason to believe that imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less-than-fair value.”

The estimated dumping margins listed in the notice are 26.54 percent for Argentina and 28.11 percent for Indonesia. If the ITC issues a preliminary determination that there is a reasonable indication that imports from Argentina and/or Indonesia are materially injuring or threatening material injury to the U.S. industry, the Commerce Department’s investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits. Based on those requirements, preliminary determinations from the Commerce Department are expected in August 2017 for the CVD claims and October 2017 for the AD claims. Affirmative determinations there will move the petition to the final determination phase.

The American Soybean Associations (ASA) has communicated its support for the petition and will be actively monitoring the proceedings and providing input and support for the U.S. biodiesel industry as the process moves forward.