EU seeks U.S. biofuel details after dumping claim

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has asked the United States to provide details of U.S. subsidies to biodiesel producers as it weighs up a request by European producers to hit U.S. imports with punitive duties.

“The Commission is in contact with the United States to clarify certain details regarding U.S. production,” an European Union diplomat said on Monday.

“This is an initial prerequisite to any move the Commission may take in this area,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

European biodiesel producers in April asked the Commission to impose duties on biodiesel imports from the United States on the grounds they broke international trade rules.

The European Biodiesel Board said U.S. subsidies for “B99” biodiesel -- which is blended with mineral diesel -- breached World Trade Organization rules and threatened the growing international trade in biodiesel.

The National Biodiesel Board, which represents U.S. producers, accused EU producers of hypocrisy, saying they benefit from discriminatory fuel specifications in the bloc.

Reporting by William Schomberg, Editing by Peter Blackburn