BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel found in favor of several claims by Argentina against anti-dumping duties imposed on its biodiesel imports by the E.U., but said the overall E.U. regulation did not go against WTO rules.
Argentina, which is a major exporter of biodiesel, initiated the WTO proceeding in December 2013, calling the E.U. measures protectionist. The E.U. claimed that Argentina was selling biodiesel at below the cost of production and hurting local producers.
Argentina said the anti-dumping duties essentially closed the European market to Argentine biodiesel, representing a loss of exports equivalent to almost $1.6 billion, the Argentina Foreign Ministry said.
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said it expects the European Commission to appeal what the EBB called “questionable parts” of the panel report for review by the Appellate Body.
EBB said it did not understand how the WTO panel could find that the method used by the European Commission to correct “distortions” caused by the Argentinean differential export tax system was in violation of WTO law.
“The European biodiesel industry will stand strong to defend its market from the harmful effects of the differential export tax mechanism, which has enabled the Argentinean biodiesel industry to export biodiesel to the E.U. at unfairly low prices and at times lower than the cost of biodiesel raw materials – a clear proof of dumping and unfair practice,” said Raffaello Garofalo, EBB’s secretary general. “The WTO Panel’s report is not an outright victory for the Argentinean industry, as many of its claims – together with the request to withdraw the E.U. anti-dumping duties – have been rejected by the WTO Panel. The EBB considers yesterday’s WTO decision only as a first episode in a long, strenuous legal battle over the legitimacy of the E.U. defense measures. This issue has implications that go well beyond the case of biodiesel as shown by the number of countries that have supported as third parties in this proceeding. It is thus essential that the Commission appeal the questionable parts of the report before the Appellate Body.”
The government of Indonesia has lodged a similar request for consultations six months following Argentina’s complaint. In parallel, a number of proceedings in the case have been lodged by Argentinean and Indonesian producers at the European Court of Justice.