BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department said it would begin a review of antidumping duties it placed last year on biodiesel imported from Argentina, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
U.S. trade officials had shut down the sale of Argentine biodiesel with steep tariffs after finding in late 2017 that imports from the South American country were being sold at prices well below market value in the United States.
Washington was now prepared to reconsider that decision, the statement said.
“If the negotiations are successful, imports of a product from our country, with high added-value, could recover their access to the very significant U.S. market,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie in the statement.
Reuters was unable to immediately reach the U.S. Department of Commerce to confirm the details of the announcement.
President Donald Trump’s administration has made enforcement of trade laws a top priority. U.S. producers of biodiesel petitioned the government shortly after Trump took office, saying below-market foreign imports from both Argentina and Indonesia were harming domestic makers.
In 2016, prior to the duties, Argentina accounted for two-thirds of U.S. biodiesel imports, totaling 916 million gallons (3.5 billion liters), according to U.S. government data.
Argentina remains one of the world’s top providers of biodiesel fuel, exporting 1.65 million tonnes in 2017.
But the retaliatory tariffs from the U.S. rattled the industry, causing major exporters in Argentina, including global grain producers Cargill [CARG.UL] and Bunge, to redirect their cargoes to other countries.
Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Chris Reese