30 March 2011 23:03 [Source: ICIS news]
BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)--Argentina and the European Union (EU) are open to negotiations regarding biodiesel exports from Argentina to Europe, an industry source said on Wednesday.
“Differential export taxes or soybean and soy oil have a distortive effect in the transatlantic trade between Argentina and the EU. Often biodiesel is sold in Europe at the same price as soy oil because the Argentine government sets higher taxes for the raw materials than for the finished product [biodiesel],” said Raffaello Garofalo, secretary general of the European Biodiesel Board (EBB). He spoke during a panel discussion at the Argentina Clean Energy Conference 2011.
“The Argentine biodiesel sold in Europe tends to be price setting, because it is sold up to 40% less than the local production,” he added.
At the same panel Alfredo Langesfeld, a representative of technology company CM Bernardini and founding partner of the Argentine Renewable Energies Chamber, said that “many biodiesel facilities in countries like Germany and the United Kingdom had to be shot down due to lack of raw material. Europeans are looking for Argentina to continue selling soybean, while this country is strongly moving towards exporting products with added value”.
Langesfeld said that “even if Argentina doubled the amount of its biodiesel exports, Europe would still be about 7m tonnes short to accomplish its goal for the year 2020”.
Argentina will reach a biodiesel production capacity of 3.5m tonnes/year in 2011, Langesfeld said. It could be producing 5m-6m tonnes/year of biodiesel by 2015, of which most would be designated for foreign markets, he said.
“Aside from Europe, Brazil and China could be markets with great potential to buy Argentine biodiesel,” he added.
The EBB’s Garofalo said the board “does not want to begin an international trade conflict with Argentina and will not launch a complaint as it did with American biodiesel. We would like to negotiate a fair trade agreement to level the plain field on regards of biodiesel.”
Langesfeld said, “I believe there’s great potential in dialogue between the biofuels sector in Argentina and the European Union in order to continue negotiations and reach agreements for international trade.”
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