EU repeals anti-dumping duties on US ethanol

By Erin Voegele | May 15, 2019

The European Commission issued a decision May 14 announcing it will repeal anti-dumping duties on European Union imports of U.S. ethanol.  The anti-dumping duties have been in place since early 2013.

The EC first initiated anti-dumping proceedings regarding U.S. ethanol imports in 2011 following a complaint lodged by ePURE, the European ethanol association on behalf of a group of European ethanol producers. In February 2013, the commission announced a 62.9 euro per metric ton duty would be allied to all imports of ethanol from the U.S. that were aimed at the fuel market for five years.

The anti-dumping duties were to expire in February 2018. However, on Feb. 20, 2018, the commission announced it was initiating an expiry review of anti-dumping measures on imports of U.S. ethanol, and said current duties would remain in place during that investigation, which was expected to conclude within 15 months. ePURE filed the request seeking the expiry review, arguing the expiration of anti-dumping measures would likely “result in the recurrence of dumping and recurrence of industry to the Union industry.”

That investigation has now concluded. The commission found no evidence that warranted a continuation of the anti-dumping duties and determined the removal of such duties would not encourage dumping in the EU.

Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and U.S. Grain Council issued a joint statement May 15 welcoming the commission’s decision.

“We welcome the European Commission’s decision to open the market to free and fair competition,” said Craig Willis, senior vice president of global markets for Growth Energy. “By removing unjustified duties on U.S. ethanol, the Commission is opening critical new opportunities for member states to take full advantage of affordable, low-carbon biofuels. It’s a win-win for our EU trading partners, who will be better positioned to meet their environmental goals while holding down prices for European drivers.”

”The decision today in the EU to allow more open access for U.S. ethanol is very welcome by our industry and the members of the U.S. Grains Council,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the USGC. “We look forward to working with our customers and counterparts in the EU to fulfill the ethanol demanded by their biofuels policy and environment- and price-conscious consumers.”

“We are pleased with the Commission’s decision to terminate these penalties immediately. RFA has always maintained these penalties were unjustified and unwarranted,” said Geoff Cooper, CEO of the RFA. “The U.S. ethanol industry is looking forward to resuming more open trade relations with the European Union. With today’s removal of these duties, consumers in the EU will once again have unfettered access to clean, affordable, renewable fuels.”

ePURE, however, called the commission’s decision bad for the EU and said it risks having serious consequences for the entire value chain of the European renewable ethanol industry.

“Europe’s ethanol industry has an important role to play in the urgent effort to decarbonize EU transport,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary-general of ePURE. “The EU’s 2050 climate goals require a massive uptake of conventional and advanced biofuels. To achieve them, policymakers must do a better job of creating an environment in which Europe’s ethanol industry can compete on a level playing field and valorise domestic biomass into food and non-food uses.”