UFOP welcomes the initiation of anti-dumping proceedings against Argentina and Indonesia

Berlin, 6 September 2012 - In response to a petition from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), the Commission’s responsible Advisory Committee made a positive decision in the evidentiary procedure for the opening of anti-dumping proceedings against biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP e.V.) greatly welcomes this decision.

UFOP notes that for some years now the export practices of these countries have led to ruinous competitive distortions for the European biodiesel industry in the EU’s internal market. The biodiesel market in the European Union has been characterised by underutilisation of capacity, operational shutdowns and bankruptcies on the one hand, and sharply increasing imports, especially of soy methyl ester, on the other. With the evidence-gathering procedure the Commission recognises a differentiated export tax system as the cause. For example, Argentina supports biodiesel exports with what is a very low export tax compared to soya beans and soya bean oil. In a price comparison, European biodiesel producers would at times not even have been able to cover their production costs, if, for example, rapeseed oil was used as a basic raw material. UFOP confirms that the increase in the export tax on biodiesel currently carried out by the Argentinian government also conflicts with fair competition. These competitive distortions and the displacement from the marketplace which this export policy is intended to achieve are no longer acceptable; UFOP demands that they be done away with as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, UFOP criticises the fact that these export practices generally harm the image of biofuels, particularly as the requirements for demonstrating the fulfilment of the sustainability criteria according to the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) are not fulfilled by these countries in the required scope. At the same time export practices have developed, which the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (BLE) [Federal Office of Agriculture and Food] has currently arranged to be clarified, that make it impossible for a sustainability certificate to be transferred to a shipload with non-sustainable biodiesel if the ship was not reloaded in the proper fashion. UFOP has therefore welcomed the BLE’s initiative aimed at intensifying the exchange of information between member states.

From UFOP’s perspective it is incomprehensible why the responsible financial authorities in Germany and in the EU do not prosecute these already long-recognised practices more intensively or monitor them more closely, particularly as ultimately they represent offences against tax law, which, domestically, according to the tax code, should be punishable.