Three trade groups wrote President Donald Trump to express concern that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has initiated “changed circumstances” reviews of U.S. trade duties on Argentine biodiesel companies. The National Biodiesel Board, the American Soybean Assn. and the National Renderers Assn. urged the President to ensure that DOC undertake a rigorous, comprehensive and transparent review before considering any adjustment to the duty rates it established just this year.
DOC imposed antidumping and countervailing duty orders in January and April 2018 following investigations in which the government found that biodiesel imports from Argentina were massively subsidized and dumped, thus injuring U.S. biodiesel producers.
“Given the importance of this new remedy for American energy and agriculture against unfair imports, it is a mystery that [DOC] would open an expedited path for Argentina to reduce or remove the tariffs and resume their illegal imports. This political concession to the government of Argentina would once again distort U.S. markets and undercut crop prices that are only now regaining stability following other trade disruptions,” the groups, which represent stakeholders in U.S. biodiesel production, stated in the letter.
The groups oppose DOC’s initiation of the changed circumstances review, arguing that the agency has well-established administrative review procedures for revisiting antidumping and countervailing duty rates and that agency has not used changed circumstances reviews for these purposes. Initiation of these reviews just months after finding that Argentina engaged in unfair trade practices creates a great deal of uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and other stakeholders, they added.
Now that DOC has initiated the changed circumstances review, the groups are urging Trump to ensure that the "review of these orders is no less rigorous and transparent than the 'administrative reviews' that [DOC] typically conducts in other cases. To do anything less would strike a devastating blow to U.S. biodiesel producers and soybean farmers.”