The European Commission has decided to extend punitive duties on U.S. biodiesel imports, which the National Biodiesel Board says is “protectionist” and is “clearly aimed at giving European biodiesel producers an edge over their competition and a lock on the European market.”
The punitive duties were first imposed by the European Commission on July 7, 2009, and were slated to expire last year. However, in July 2014, the European Biodiesel Board pushed to extend them for another five years, and the Commission has been conducting an “expiry review” for this purpose.
The EU has cited the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive in the U.S. as a reason to extend the duties, ignoring the fact that the biodiesel tax incentive is currently expired and that European biodiesel was eligible to receive the tax credit so long as it was blended in the U.S., NBB said in a statement.
In challenging the duties throughout the expiry review, NBB emphasized that European biodiesel producers are able to sell biodiesel in both Europe and the United States without duties or limitation and can freely participate in U.S. policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and, before it had expired, the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive. In fact, U.S. imports of biodiesel from the EU have grown in recent years while EU imports of U.S. biodiesel have been virtually eliminated since the EU duties were imposed, NBB noted.
The European Biodiesel Board said they’ve been unable to fully reap the benefits of their efforts to build up production capacity “due to the devastating effects of successive waves of unfair U.S. competition.”
“EBB will remain vigilant in its commitment to ensure that the EU biodiesel producers benefit from a level-playing field. Moreover, EBB will not hesitate to take decisive action to thwart any attempt to circumvent the measures entering into force tomorrow,” EBB said in a statement.
This July the Senate Finance Committee approved a tax extenders package which extends the $1/gal biodiesel tax credit through 2016.
NBB said the EU decision highlights why the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive should be reformed and converted into a domestic production credit to ensure a level playing field. “When the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive is in effect under the current structure, European biodiesel can be shipped to the United States only to be rewarded with a $1-per-gallon incentive, while at the same time U.S. biodiesel shipped to the EU is slapped with punitive duties.”NBB added, “This is obviously unfair to American companies and workers.” NBB said it will continue evaluating its options for fighting these “protectionist duties.”