EU drops anti-dumping duties on U.S. ethanol

Biofuel and grain groups welcome opportunity for increased ethanol trade with Europe.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

May 15, 2019

3 Min Read

The European Commission issued a decision May 14 to not renew anti-dumping duties on European Union imports of U.S. ethanol. The decision stems from the European Commission’s expiry review of the anti-dumping action taken in 2013, which has been in place since then. In announcing its decision, the commission found no evidence that warranted continuation of those duties and said the removal of duties would not encourage dumping in the EU.

"We welcome the European Commission’s decision to open the market to free and fair competition," said Craig Willis, senior vice president of global markets for Growth Energy. "By removing unjustified duties on U.S. ethanol, the commission is opening critical new opportunities for member states to take full advantage of affordable, low-carbon biofuels. It’s a win-win for our EU trading partners, who will be better positioned to meet their environmental goals while holding down prices for European drivers."

U.S. Grains Council president and chief executive officer Tom Sleight added, ”The decision today in the EU to allow more open access for U.S. ethanol is very welcome by our industry and the members of the U.S. Grains Council. We look forward to working with our customers and counterparts in the EU to fulfill the ethanol demanded by their biofuels policy and environment- and price-conscious consumers.”

Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) CEO Geoff Cooper said, “We are pleased with the commission’s decision to terminate these penalties immediately. RFA has always maintained these penalties were unjustified and unwarranted. The U.S. ethanol industry is looking forward to resuming more open trade relations with the European Union. With today’s removal of these duties, consumers in the EU will once again have unfettered access to clean, affordable, renewable fuels.”

However, ePure, an industry group representing the European renewable ethanol segment, said the decision is bad for the EU’s ethanol industry, farmers and climate ambitions.

In a statement, ePure said the decision comes at a time when other key U.S. export markets, including Brazil, China, Peru and Colombia, have introduced or are considering measures to protect themselves from unfair U.S. ethanol exports. “This increases the risk that U.S. exporters divert exports previously targeting these countries to the EU. Europe’s renewable ethanol producers are already under pressure from misguided biofuel and agricultural policy decisions; now is not the time to subject them to unfair trade practices,” ePure said.

The group added, “The negative impact of a surge in U.S. fuel ethanol exports to the EU would be felt not only by the European renewable ethanol industry but also by European agriculture. It would deal another blow to European farmers at a time when the EU is proposing to drastically cut the budget and support for the sector under the Common Agricultural Policy.”

“Europe’s ethanol industry has an important role to play in the urgent effort to decarbonize EU transport,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary-general of ePURE. “The EU’s 2050 climate goals require a massive uptake of conventional and advanced biofuels. To achieve them, policy-makers must do a better job of creating an environment in which Europe’s ethanol industry can compete on a level playing field and valorize domestic biomass into food and non-food uses.”

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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