Argentine biodiesel producers seek solutions to EU tariffs

31 October 2013 16:03  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Argentine biodiesel producers are looking for solutions to high import tariffs expected to start in November for all biodiesel imported into the European Union (EU), players in the market said on Thursday.

At the end of November, the EU will levy new import tariffs on biodiesel originating from Argentina.

"We are looking to export product to other countries as a short term resolution," a seller said.

Producers in the region also have said that they will also pressure the government to increase the mandated biodiesel blend rate, which is officially at about 8%.

Argentine biodiesel sales to Europe, the main foreign buyer for local producers, have plummeted since May, when the EU set provisional tariffs for import.

Last May the EC imposed temporary tariffs on imports of soybean methyl ester (SME) from Argentina with a tariff rate of about 6-10%.

Analysts have said that during the first 7 months of 2013, Argentine exports declined more than 70% during the same time period year over year and producers only ran at about 40% of capacity.

"The sector has suffered a serious blow," a trader in the region said. "Especially, if you take into account that 90% of exported material historically went to the EU."

The new rates heard in the market are much higher, from 22-26%, according to sources in the region.

The higher tariff rates will force Argentine biodiesel out of the European market, a trader said.

There are eleven large exporters whose survival is compromised by the measure, analysts in Argentina have said.

European trade relations with Argentina have worsened since April last year, when President Cristina Fernandez seized control of oil firm YPF from its parent company, Spain's Repsol.

By: Leela Landress
+1 713 525 2653

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