ePURE suspects circumvention of import duty on ethanol imports

By ePURE | May 14, 2013

ePURE, the European Renewable Ethanol Association, has asked the European Commission to investigate if EU customs legislation is properly applied in Finland. Evidence from several sources indicates that ethanol blended with gasoline coming from the US and destined for the EU market will be classified as an ethanol blend with much lower import duties than denatured ethanol, creating unfair market situations and circumvention of import duties.

The blend consisting of 92 percent ethanol and 8 percent gasoline is entering the community in Finland and will be brought into free circulation on the common market. There is a serious concern that the blend is not classified according to Regulation 211/2012, denatured ethanol, but as a chemical.

ePURE also asks the European Commission to certify that the volumes entering the EU and originating from the U.S.A. do carry the anti-dumping duty. This Regulation requires that an extra duty shall be put on products originating from the U.S.A. and destined for the fuel market and this for a period of 5 years.

Circumvention is an unfair way of trading that has a detrimental impact on the EU producers, and is subject to legal sanctions. Under the new Classification Regulation (211/2012) adopted by the Member states on 13 March 2012, which states that goods composed of up to 70 percent ethyl alcohol and to 30 percent gasoline have to be classified by national customs as 2207 20 00 (denatured ethanol), products corresponding to the definition should be applied an import duty of 102Euro/1 000 liters.

"Seeing that a well-known Finnish company is offering this product on the EU market at a price substantially lower than any other European company is a serious reason for concern and causes us to take immediate action,” said Rob Vierhout, Secretary-general of ePURE. This cut in price is only possible if the National customs do not apply the correct duty rate according to the Regulation 211/2102 and still apply the rate of 6.5 percent, as if the product was classified as a 3824 product (a chemical).

"Neither do we understand why EU companies want to import U.S.A. ethanol knowing that the greenhouse gas emission saving is much lower than the savings realized by EU produced ethanol which can be as high as 90 percent,” added Vierhout.

It is important for the European Ethanol industry that these leads from trusted sources on unfair practices are investigated. If Finnish regulations and customs are not applying the EU Regulations correctly, Finland will be faced with an infringement procedure launched by the Commission.