Argentina bets on European market

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2017/8/24 17:58:40

Biodiesel exports to the US would be halted

Argentina is betting on the reopening of the European market to maintain demand for its biodiesel exports after the US imposed steep duties on imports, an industry group leader said.

Argentine producers said they would halt exports to the US as a result of the US Commerce Department's decision to slap countervailing duties of up to 64.17 percent on the imports from the South American country.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) last year ruled in favor of Argentina in a dispute over anti-dumping tariffs the EU had applied to Argentine biodiesel, but the European Commission has not yet removed the tariffs.

Luis Zubizarreta, president of Argentina's Carbio biodiesel industry group, which includes companies like Bunge and Cargill, told Reuters a decision should be imminent.

"We are confident that in a few weeks, we will have this market open. It could compensate," he said in an interview.

The EU was once Argentina's biggest biodiesel market, but that shifted to the US after the EU set duties in November 2013 of between 22 percent and 25.7 percent for Argentine producers.

In 2016, 90 percent of the 1.6 million tons of biodiesel Argentina exported went to the US, Argentine government data shows.

The US imposition of even harsher tariffs surprised Argentina's producers, Carbio said after US Vice President Mike Pence pledged to boost two-way trade in a visit to Buenos Aires last week.

Another industry group, the Argentine Chamber of Oil Industry, said that the recovery of the European market would prevent oversupply and falling prices of soybean oil - the input used to produce biodiesel in Argentina. Argentina is the world's top soy oil exporter.

Zubizarreta of Carbio said he hoped the US Department of Commerce would reverse its preliminary decision on the tariffs, insisting Argentina does not subsidize biodiesel exports.

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