August 24, 2017 / 9:20 PM / a year ago

Argentina reserves right to legal action on U.S. biodiesel duties

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s government is investigating all options and reserves the right to take legal action over the United States imposing steep duties on imports of its biodiesel, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Biodiesel is seen through a tube at a biodiesel refinery in San Lorenzo, Argentina February 26, 2010. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo

The statement said the imposition of duties above 50 percent, announced on Tuesday, does not correspond to any type of methodology acceptable under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In 2016, 90 percent of the 1.6 million tonnes of biodiesel Argentina exported went to the United States, Argentine government data shows.

An Argentine industry group said on Tuesday the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to slap countervailing duties of up to 64.17 percent on the imports would cause them to immediately stop exports to the United States.

“The Argentine government, along with the private sector, is cooperating with the investigation,” the statement said. “It has been established that Argentina does not award subsidies to biodiesel producers.”

The WTO last year ruled in favor of Argentina in a dispute over anti-dumping tariffs the European Union had applied to Argentine biodiesel, but the European Commission has not yet removed the tariffs.

The U.S. duties were announced a week after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pledged to boost two-way trade in a visit to Buenos Aires.

“Argentina will seek to revert this preliminary decision defending the interest of our country, will evaluate all available options and reserves the right to bring forward pertinent legal action,” the statement said.

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Sandra Maler

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