Indonesia to challenge latest U.S. biodiesel duty ruling at WTO

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to challenge the latest ruling by the United States on anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Indonesian biodiesel at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the trade ministry said on Friday.

The U.S. Commerce Department this week imposed more import duties on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, adding anti-dumping duties to already steep anti-subsidy duties on the fuels.

The latest duties make it virtually certain that biodiesel from the two countries will not be sold in the U.S. market, with combined rates of up to 159 percent on Argentine fuel and up to 341 percent on Indonesian product.

“The anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty decisions against Indonesian biodiesel together represent a clear abuse of the trade remedy laws,” Indonesia’s Trade Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the U.S. Commerce Department in its argument against Indonesian biodiesel used the same methodology applied by the European Union, which Indonesia said “blatantly violates WTO law.”

The WTO last month ruled in favor of several challenges by Indonesia to anti-dumping duties imposed on its biodiesel exports to the EU and asked that measures be changed.

Indonesia has not exported biodiesel to the United States since last year due to the import duties, according to the Indonesian Association of Biofuel Producers.

The Argentine Chamber of Biofuels (CARBIO) said on Thursday the increased U.S. duties were “arbitrary and illegal” and it expected the government to take the matter to the WTO.

Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; writing by Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Richard Pullin