BRUSSELS, BELGIUM —  The European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) said on May 14 that it has asked the European Commission to investigate if E.U. customs legislation is properly applied in Finland. 

Evidence from several sources indicates that ethanol blended with gasoline coming from the U.S. and destined for the E.U. market will be classified as an ethanol blend with much lower import duties than denatured ethanol, creating unfair market situations and circumvention of import duties. 

The blend consisting of 92% ethanol and 8% gasoline is allegedly entering Finland and will be brought into free circulation on the common market. There is a serious concern that the blend is not classified according to Regulation 211/2012, denatured ethanol, but as a chemical.

ePURE also asks the European Commission to certify that the volumes entering the E.U. and originating from the U.S. do carry the anti-dumping duty. This regulation requires that an extra duty shall be put on products originating from the U.S. and destined for the fuel market for a period of 5 years.

Circumvention is an unfair way of trading that has a detrimental impact on the E.U. producers, and is subject to legal sanctions, ePURE said. Under the new classification regulation (211/2012) adopted by the member states on March 13, 2012, goods composed of up to 70% ethyl alcohol and to 30% gasoline have to be classified by national customs as 2207 20 00 (denatured ethanol), and are subject to an import duty. 

"Seeing that a well-known Finnish company is offering this product on the E.U. market at a price substantially lower than any other European company is a serious reason for concern and causes us to take immediate action,” said Rob Vierhout, secretary-general of ePURE. “This cut in price is only possible if the national customs do not apply the correct duty rate according to the Regulation 211/2102 and still apply the rate of 6.5%, as if the product was classified as a 3824 product (a chemical). 

"Neither do we understand why E.U. companies want to import U.S. ethanol knowing that the greenhouse gas emission saving is much lower than the savings realized by E.U. produced ethanol which can be as high as 90%."