13 June 2008 10:57 [Source: ICIS news]
PARIS (ICIS news)--EU competition authorities are to investigate imports of biodiesel from the ?xml:namespace>
The EC said that it had decided to start a full investigation following claims by several European biodiesel producers - represented by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) - that the market was being flooded by cheaper imports from the
The EBB welcomed the EC’s decision to investigate and said she hoped that the it would move quickly to impose duties on the
“The maximum amount of time allowed under EU rules for such an investigation is 13 months, so a decision will have to be taken by March next year,” a spokeswoman said.
“Obviously we hope it will happen quicker than that, but it is not going to take two weeks.”
US rules from 2004 allow biodiesel blended with mineral diesel to benefit from subsidies of up to $264/cubic metre ($300/tonne or approximately €200/tonne), regardless of where the fuel is finally sold.
But since there is no limit on the amount of mineral diesel that need be used, the EBB claims that the B99 imported to the EU is almost pure biodiesel with just a “drop” of mineral diesel.
When exported to
As the EU subsidies, in the form of tax rebates, are only eligible when the product is released for consumption in Europe, EU exports to the
The EBB spokeswoman declined to comment on the financial impact that the cheaper imports from the
But she pointed out that production of biodiesel in the EU last year was 5.7m tonnes compared with total production capacity of more than 50m tonnes, making it clear that the subsidised imports had clearly “hampered” European growth.
“For more than a year, B99 blends have been sold in the European market as ‘pure biodiesel’ and at a substantial discount [over €120-180/tonne], in some cases at a lower price than the raw materials purchased by the EU industry for producing biodiesel.”
The EBB added that it considered B99 subsidised exports as “a trade practice clearly breaching World Trade Organization rules and threatening the concept of international trade in biodiesel”.
According to the EC, the
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