Industry asks White House to step into DDGS antidumping case

By Holly Jessen | March 03, 2016

One day after China published the results of a preliminary look into antidumping and countervailing duty cases filed in China Jan. 12 against the U.S. distillers grains industry, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to the White House, asking for action.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, and Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of RFA, co-signed the March 2 letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Commerce and USDA to in challenge both the investigation process and the preliminary determinations made by China’s investigating authority, the Ministry of Commerce. The letter also asked the administration to help the industry “mount an aggressive defense” of access to Chinese livestock feed markets during the investigations.

“At a time when both U.S. ethanol producers and farmers are facing serious economic challenges, it is estimated that China’s actions have already resulted in distillers grains losing $30-35 [per] ton in value,” the letter said. “This is equivalent to an annualized aggregate loss of $1.2 to $1.6 billion to U.S. ethanol producers, many of whom are small businesses in rural America. Losses would mount further, potentially to $50-60 [per] ton or more, if the antidumping and countervailing duty actions ultimately result in a total collapse of distillers grains exports to China, meaning a loss to the U.S. economy of more than $2 billion.”

The letter outlined the ministry’s “unprecedented” investigation actions, asking U.S. distillers grains exporters to willingly, within a two-week period, complete lengthy and complex preliminary questioners. From those, the ministry selected “a preliminary sample of U.S. companies to participate in the full antidumping and countervailing duty investigations,” the letter said. About 20 companies sent in individual responses and 50 to 60 more filed a joint response, as they were unable to provide specific data on distillers grains exports to China.

China published its sampling results March 1, and preliminarily selected three of the about 20 companies that filed individual responses to the questionnaire to participate in the investigations. The companies that filed joint responses, on the other hand, are subject to punitive duty rates should China determine that it will impose antidumping or countervailing duties on U.S. distillers grains. It was said this was because those companies did not complete the questionnaire within the specified time.