WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The E.U. general court ruled on June 9 that the European Commission violated its own laws by issuing a country-wide anti-dumping duty on imports of U.S. ethanol, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a June 17 report. The exact interpretation of the ruling as well as its implications for U.S. ethanol exports to the E.U. are currently unknown. 

On Oct. 12, 2011, the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE), on behalf of producers representing more than 25% of the total E.U. production of ethanol, initiated an anti-dumping complaint to the European Commission concerning imports of ethanol into the E.U. from the U.S. On Feb. 19, 2013, the council of the E.U. introduced an anti-dumping duty of $83.03 per tonne on imports of U.S.-origin ethanol. In May 2013, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy, on behalf of the U.S. ethanol industry, filed a joint complaint arguing that duties should only be imposed on individual companies and not as a blanket country-wide duty.

The European Commission has two months to file an appeal of the ruling, during which time the anti-dumping duty will remain in place. Although there have been some developments since anti-dumping duties were imposed in 2013 that limit U.S. export volumes, U.S. price competitiveness would improve if these duties were annulled or lowered which, in turn, could lead to increased U.S. exports. 

However, the longer-term FAS outlook for E.U. policy suggests that sales growth opportunity for all suppliers is constrained and U.S. exports are unlikely to reach the previous 2011 export record of 300 million gallons even if the anti-dumping duty is removed due to a multitude of factors.