The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On January 31, 2018, the European Commission (EC) launched a new investigation into subsidized imports of biodiesel from Argentina.  The investigation was initiated based on a complaint filed by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) on behalf of producers representing over 25 percent of the European Union (EU) biodiesel production.  The EC determined that the complaint includes sufficient evidence that the Argentinean biodiesel producers have benefitted from a number of subsidies granted by the Government of Argentina.  The investigation provides another means for imposing tariffs on biodiesel imported from Argentina following successful challenges to the anti-dumping (AD) duties set in 2013.  In September 2017, the EU reduced the AD duties for Argentinean biodiesel to between 4.5 and 8.1 percent, from initial rates of 22-25.7 percent.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 25, 2018, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a ruling on anti-dumping (AD) measures on biodiesel from Indonesia, following Indonesia’s request for consultations with the European Union (EU) in June 2014.  The ruling is the latest in a series of legal challenges to EU AD duties on biodiesel imports from Indonesia and Argentina that were established in 2013. Similar to the WTO ruling for Argentina, the panel ruled in favor of several challenges to the AD duties for Indonesia.  For instance, the panel determined that the EU should have used the prices recorded by the producers and failed to calculate correctly a normal profit margin.  While Indonesia argued that the measures should be withdrawn, the panel did not make specific recommendations on how the EU should adapt its measures.  The EU AD duties for Indonesia remain those set in 2013, specifically between 8.8 and 20.5 percent. Both parties have 60 days to submit an appeal.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 17, 2018, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), which includes draft measures to raise the share of renewable energy to 35 percent by 2030.  Additionally, the lawmakers voted to exclude biofuels produced from palm oil from consideration of European Union (EU) Renewable Energy targets and to cap other crop-based fuels at their current levels.  The exclusion of palm oil-derived biofuels would not ban or limit the production of such biofuels in the EU.  The EP vote does not represent a final decision, but rather sets the EP position for negotiations with the Council of Ministers and the European Commission (EC).

Tags: REDII, EP, EU, Biofuels

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

According to Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi, Brazil is considering lifting the 20 percent tariff on ethanol imports from the U.S..  Demand for ethanol in Brazil has increased due to record-high gasoline prices.  As indicated in the BRAG blog post Grain, Ethanol Industry Send Letter To U.S. Trade Representative On Brazil Ethanol Tariff, U.S. ethanol producers would welcome the removal of the tariff and renewed access to Brazil, which is the largest destination for U.S. biofuel exports.  Minister Maggi indicated that the decision to remove the tariff would depend on the U.S. lifting the ban on fresh beef exports from Brazil.  In 2017, the U.S. banned fresh beef from Brazil following a food safety scandal and Brazil imposed a tax on ethanol from the U.S. following an increase in imports.  While speaking to reporters on January 16, 2018, Minister Maggi stated that “[t]here is, on the part of the United States, a big demand to withdraw [the ethanol tariff] and we also have this problem with beef. . . . Obviously one thing influences and contaminates the other.”  According to Minister Maggi, Brazil has addressed all U.S. requirements regarding the safety of its fresh beef and is awaiting the U.S.’s decision.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On January 2, 2018, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) issued a Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) report on Japan’s fuel ethanol policy.  According to the report, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is seeking public comments on changes to its fuel ethanol policy.  The changes would establish a U.S. corn-based ethanol greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions value of 43.15; allow U.S. corn-based ethanol to be imported for the production of bio-ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE); increase the GHG emission values for Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and gasoline; and increase the GHG reduction target from 50 to 55 percent.  Comments on the proposed changes are due by January 18, 2018.  GAIN reports are prepared by U.S. Foreign Service officers working at posts overseas who collect and submit to FAS information on the agricultural situation.

Tags: Japan, Biofuel

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On January 4, 2018, the International Trade Administration (ITA) issued in the Federal Register a notice of the countervailing duty (CVD) orders on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia based on the affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC).  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post ITC Issues Final Determinations On Biodiesel From Argentina And Indonesia, after DOC issued its final affirmative determination on November 16, 2017, ITC filed its final determination on December 21, 2017, stating that an industry in the United States is materially injured by subsidized imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.  According to the notice, unliquidated entries of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, entered or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption on or after August 28, 2017, are subject to the assessment of CVD.  DOC will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess the CVD for the subject merchandise equal to the net countervailable subsidy rates established in the notice.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On December 28, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued in the Federal Register a notice regarding its final determination on the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia.  Pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930, ITC determined that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, which have been found by the Department of Commerce (DOC) to be subsidized by the governments of Argentina and Indonesia.  ITC completed and filed its determinations on December 21, 2017, after holding a hearing on November 9, 2017, in which all interested parties were permitted to appear.  The views of ITC will be published in USITC Publication 4748 (December 2017), entitled Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia: Investigation Nos. 701-TA-571-572, which will be available on the ITC website shortly.

Tags: ITC

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued in the Federal Register a notice on the postponement of final determinations of sales in less than fair value (LTFV) investigations into biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia and the extension of provisional measures.  As reported in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “DOC Initiates Biodiesel Antidumping, Countervailing Investigation,” DOC initiated LTFV investigations of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia on April 12, 2017.  DOC is postponing the deadline for issuing the final determinations until February 15, 2018, and extending the provisional measures from a four-month period to a period of no more than six months.  According to the notice, a postponement is permitted given that each preliminary determination was affirmative; the requests in each investigation were made by the exporters and producers who account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise from the country at issue; and no compelling reasons for denials exist.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On November 29, 2017, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (Ministry) issued proposed amendments to the Ethanol in Gasoline regulation (O. Reg. 535/05) and the Greener Diesel -- Renewable Fuel Content Requirements for Petroleum Diesel Fuel (O. Reg. 97/14) under the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.19.  Among the proposed changes is an increase from a 5 percent ethanol blending mandate to 10 percent starting in 2020; a requirement that ethanol sold for compliance to be 35 percent lower in greenhouse gases (GHG) than gasoline; and the application of existing incentives to a wider range of advanced biofuels.  According to the Ministry, the proposed amendments are intended to work with the expected federal Clean Fuels Standard (CFS), ensuring GHG reductions take place in Ontario and Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan goals are supported.  The Ministry stated that it is exploring options to support biofuel production and innovation through a Blenders Support Program (BSP) as well.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On December 1, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced that its Ham Trick (Kinkkutemppu in Finnish) campaign was awarded two prestigious marketing and communications competitions.  The Ham Trick, which is a campaign in which Neste collects and recycles ham waste fat from 100,000 households throughout Finland for manufacturing renewable diesel, won gold at the 2017 European Excellence Awards (EEA) and bronze in the PR category at the Eurobest awards. According to Kaisa Lipponen, Director of Corporate Communications at Neste, ”[t]he prizes are an excellent form of recognition and proof that the campaigns really interest people.”  All proceeds from the campaign are donated to charity.


 
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