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NBB, ASA Ask Commerce Secretary Ross for Meeting Before Final Decision on Argentine Biodiesel Duty Rates

Sep 30, 2019, 3:12 PM
Letter says Commerce must make the right decision, rather than a hurried decision

NEWS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Contact: Paul Winters
 202-737-8801
pwinters@biodiesel.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, requesting he meet with the groups before the U.S. Department of Commerce finalizes its review of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. The letter notes that Ross met with the Government of Argentina after issuing a preliminary decision in the review but has not yet met directly with U.S. biodiesel producers.

"Since Commerce issued the preliminary results in the review on July 9, our multiple requests to schedule a meeting with you have gone unanswered," the groups write. "We still hope that you can provide us the same courtesy that you provided to representatives of the government of Argentina and meet with us."

A copy of the letter is available for download.

Commerce finalized countervailing duty rates on Argentine biodiesel imports in January 2018, following a lengthy investigation that found U.S. biodiesel producers were harmed by Argentina's unfair trade practices. Then in November 2018, Commerce granted Argentina's unprecedented request for a "changed circumstances" review, based on the Argentine government's claims that it had changed its tax structure. In July 2019, Commerce issued a preliminary decision that would virtually eliminate countervailing duties for Argentina's biodiesel producers.

"It remains unclear why Commerce is rushing to issue final results when recent developments in Argentina suggest a likely change in leadership and tax policy," the letter continues. "It seems clear that Argentina's tax policies are likely to continue to change, as they have on numerous occasions in recent years. It is far more important for Commerce to make the right decision in this review, rather than a quick decision."

Argentina is holding the first round of a presidential election on October 27. A runoff, if necessary, would occur on November 24.

Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with NBB, added, "The administration's rush to provide a boost to Argentina's farmers and biodiesel producers is difficult to understand. This year, U.S. farmers are earning half what they did five years ago because of trade disputes. And nine U.S. biodiesel producers have been forced to cut production, close facilities, and lay off workers because of the administration's favors to the oil industry. Opening the door to a resumption of unfairly priced biodiesel imports will only do more harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry and U.S. farmers."

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation's first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers, and fuel distributors, as well as the U.S. renewable diesel industry.

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For more about biodiesel, visit www.biodiesel.org.

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