Argentine complaints unlikely to boost biodiesel exports

14 June 2012 19:41  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Argentina’s complaints to the European Commission (EC) will not likely have much effect on the recovery of the country’s biodiesel exports, brokers and traders in the region said on Thursday.

Argentina said on Wednesday it was challenging Spain to explain a new biodiesel law that it alleged violated World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and could cost the South American country almost $1bn in lost export revenue.

Starting in April, Spain required all imported biodiesel to be sourced from EU producers. The measure effectively blocked imports of the fuel from Argentina, which had dominated Spain's biodiesel market.

Soybean-based biodiesel imports from Argentina were valued at about $944m (€745m) in 2011, according to Spain's Renewable Energy Producers Association (APPA).

The biodiesel market in Argentina is beginning to recover and the soy methyl ester (SME) bid and offer range was assessed at $1,058-1,078/tonne FOB (free on board) out of Rosario, Argentina, for June and July.

"The trade and investment climate in Argentina is clearly getting worse," EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said on 25 May. "This leaves me no choice but to challenge Argentina's protectionist import regime."

Argentina's government called the Spanish law protectionist and added that it aimed to remove Argentina and other providers from the Spanish biodiesel market.

Argentina is evaluating the possibility of taking this issue to the WTO's dispute settlement body, the Argentine foreign ministry said.

The biodiesel dispute followed a decision by President Cristina Fernandez to seize control of Argentina's biggest oil firm, YPF, a subsidiary of Spain's Repsol, in April.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Leela Landress
+1 713 525 2653

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