Argentine producers pledge to fight EU biodiesel duties
BUENOS AIRES/BRUSSELS Oct 3 (Reuters) - Argentinian biodiesel producers will fight European Union proposals to impose punitive duties on imports from the country, saying the move would remove its biggest export market and raise prices in Europe.
The European Commission has proposed duties of between 216 and 245 euros ($330) per tonne on biodiesel imports from Argentina, and of between 121 to 178 euro a tonne on imports from Indonesia, figures seen by Reuters showed.
The 28-nation bloc accuses producers in the two countries of selling their product at unfairly low prices, harming European producers.
"We will seek to defend ourselves against this decision, which we consider unfair," Luis Zubizarreta, head of Argentinian biofuel body CARBIO, told Reuters.
"Clearly, Argentina will not be able to export so much as a litre to Europe, and European biodiesel prices will rise. We will have to produce less biodiesel," he said.
If backed by EU governments at a vote later this month, the duties could be imposed by the end of November.
That in turn could prompt a legal challenge from Jakarta and Buenos Aires at the World Trade Organization, a source familiar with the issue said.
Together, the two countries account for 90 percent of EU biodiesel imports and more than a fifth of the bloc's annual consumption.
Among the firms set to be hit by the duties are agri-business Bunge Ltd and Louis Dreyfus Commodities , which face duties of 216 and 239 euros per tonnes respectively on their exports from Argentina.
A report by Buenos Aires-based consultants IES this week showed that Argentina's biodiesel production fell by 40 percent in the first eight months of 2013 from the same period last year, while exports fell nearly 60 percent in the same timeframe.
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