On Wednesday this week (22 September) the Argentine government announced it would be appealing a US ruling that maintains high import duties on biodiesel supplies from the South American nation.
Argentina, which is currently one of the global lead producers of biodiesel, has seen heavy tariffs from the US since 2018, at which time a commerce ministry investigation into industry malpractice deemed the country to be engaging in ‘unfair trade practices’ and essentially formed a blockade on Argentine imports of the fuel alternative. A motion from Argentina to change the ruling was rejected earlier this week by the US Court of International Trade, and it is this decision that the Argentine government will seek to appeal.
“Argentina regrets the US court decision,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “The Argentine government will work jointly with the private sector of our country to reverse this decision.”
By contrast, the decision has been applauded by the National Biodiesel Board, who said the ruling was ‘reasonably determined and supported by substantial evidence.’
Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs, said, “NBB’s Fair Trade Coalition and members are grateful that the Department of Commerce stood by US biodiesel producers and made the right decisions to maintain fair trade conditions.”
While the US was previously a huge market for Argentine biodiesel, the subsidies almost immediately caused a decline in export activity, causing some to say they were ‘priced out’ of their main market. As the regime in the South American country was recently changed to increase withholdings on biodiesel, the case was made by local producers that the situation be revised on the basis of there being ‘changed circumstances’ – a situation that the US court did not agree with.
Given that the Argentinian biofuel market took a significant hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to reinvigorate trade may be anticipated to gain a new fervor.