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Senators ask Commerce Secretary for action on biodiesel

Senators ask Wilbur Ross to develop complete record of Argentina's biodiesel trade actions before revisiting U.S. duties.

A bipartisan group of 14 senators led by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross regarding his agency’s recently launched “changed circumstances” review of U.S. duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina.

Related: Will Trump appease U.S. biodiesel producers or his Argentine buddy?

In the letter, the senators ask Ross to develop a complete record of Argentina’s biodiesel trade actions before determining whether revisiting the U.S. duties is warranted.

The letter is co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, Mike Braun, R-Indiana, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Patty Murray, D-Washington, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Tina Smith, D-Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, John Thune, R-S.D., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

The letter notes that in early 2018 the U.S. Department of Commerce issued countervailing duty and antidumping orders on imports of certain biodiesel products from Argentina, following an extensive trade investigation. Then in December 2018, Commerce initiated “changed circumstances” reviews to assess Argentina’s most recent modification to its export tax regime and whether it warrants a review of the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty orders issued only months before.

Related: Antidumping orders expected for biodiesel from Argentina, Indonesia

“It is unclear why Commerce would afford a special review to Argentina and its biodiesel industry when the ink on these antidumping and countervailing duty orders is barely dry,” the group of senators state in the letter.

Related: Biodiesel proponents question Commerce Department decision

“In the short period since the antidumping and countervailing duty orders were imposed, U.S. biodiesel producers have been able to compete on a more level playing field and the U.S. biodiesel industry has begun to recover from the injury caused by the unfair trade practices of the Argentine government and industry,” they continue.

Domestic biodiesel production increased by 17% or more than 300 million gallons in 2018, compared to 2017.

Related: Trump administration reviewing duties on Argentine biodiesel

“NBB and its members appreciate the leadership of Senators Grassley, Cantwell and others from across the country who raised their concerns about fair trade with Secretary Ross,” said Kurt Kovarik, National Biodiesel Board’s Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Over the past two years, Argentina has made more than a dozen changes to its export tax rates and has continued to massively subsidize its biodiesel industry. Given this history, Commerce should understand that Argentina is very likely to continue subsidizing its domestic biodiesel industry in the future. Commerce’s changed circumstances reviews must take into account a full record of Argentina’s actions since the closing of Commerce’s prior investigation.”

Source: National Biodiesel Board, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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