EU begins expiry review of anti-dumping measures for US ethanol

By Erin Voegele | February 20, 2018

On Feb. 20, the European Union announced it is initiating an expiry review of anti-dumping measures on imports of U.S. ethanol. Current duties will remain in place during the European Commission’s investigation, which is expected to conclude within 15 months.

The EU enacted anti-dumping measures against U.S. ethanol in February 2013. The current duties have been in place since Feb. 23, 2013 and were scheduled to expire after five years. The action taken by the EU on Feb. 20, however, will extend those duties at least through the end of its 15-month investigation.

A notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union indicates the request for review was submitted on Nov. 8, 2017 by European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) on behalf of producers representing more than 25 percent of total ethanol production in the EU. According to the notice, the request for review is based on the grounds that expiration of measures would likely “result in the recurrence of dumping and recurrence of injury to the Union industry.”

A statement released by ePURE cites actions taken by other U.S. export markets, including China, Brazil and Peru, as evidence that dumping would resume once measures are lifted.  “With other export markets closing their doors to dumped U.S. ethanol, coupled with a saturated U.S. fuel ethanol market at home, U.S. exporters will be looking for alternative export opportunities for close to 1.5 billion liters of product,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general of ePURE. “If only a fraction of this volume were to be diverted to the EU market, it would severely damage the EU industry, putting at risk the 50,000 direct and indirect jobs linked to renewable ethanol production in Europe.”

The U.S. ethanol industry is criticizing the EU’s action.

“It’s disappointing that some are seeking to continue to impose unjustified duties on U.S. ethanol and to stifle trade,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Once the facts are reviewed, we believe it will be clear that these duties are not warranted.”

“Countries and trading partners who impose protectionist measures to limit U.S. ethanol exports end up hurting their own citizens because they no longer have access to the lowest cost and lowest carbon source of biofuel in the world,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “We should all be working together to expand the use of ethanol around the globe.”

"We are disappointed by ePure’s decision to seek a five-year extension of the illegal antidumping penalty applied against U.S. ethanol exporters," said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. "As we previously argued, and the Court of Justice in Europe concurred, the original investigation of dumping in this case was flawed. This dumping penalty has already been in place for five years and now ePure wants the penalty to be extended for another five years without regard to changing market dynamics."

"Europe’s ethanol industry needs to realize that it can't build a competitive and healthy biofuel industry by shielding it from global competition," Dinneen continued. "By denying consumers access to cheap and affordable biofuel, it has a better chance of competing against other incumbent energy sources.  But today, as a result of this protectionist mindset, Europe cant even compete against much smaller, fledgling biofuel industries in countries like Peru and Colombia. 

"It is a much different world for biofuels today, as compared to five years ago," Dinnen said. "With global competition for ethanol growing, ePure is doing its industry no favors by trying to insulate it from the world."