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 Lynn L. Bergeson

According to documents from the European Union (EU), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the EU must remove anti-dumping (AD) duties on biodiesel imports from 13 Argentine and Indonesian producers.  Importers will be able to claim back duties that were paid in the past.  While the companies that challenged the measures are no longer subject to AD duties, the duties still apply to companies not covered under the legal challenge.  The EU initially appealed the September 2016 ECJ ruling to annul the duties but later dropped the appeal.  In addition to ECJ, the World Trade Organization has ruled against the EU AD duties, which were established in 2013.  Indonesia intends to challenge the biodiesel duties established in the U.S. and to continue expanding biodiesel subsidies to cover palm oil blended fuels for use by the mining and power sector.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 23, 2018, European Union (EU) ambassadors reached provisional agreements on the waste legislative package published by the European Commission in 2015.  The four legislative proposals include amendments to the:

  • Waste Framework Directive;
  • Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive;
  • Landfill Directive; and
  • End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV)/Batteries/Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directives.

The Waste Framework Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive both acknowledge that biobased and compostable plastics contribute to more efficient waste management and help reduce the impacts of plastic packaging on the environment.  Amendments to the Waste Framework would permit biodegradable and compostable packaging to be collected with biowaste and recycled in industrial composting and anaerobic digestion.  Additionally, the legislation differentiates biodegradable compostable plastics from oxo-degradable plastics, which would not be considered biodegradable.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 1, 2018, the European Commission announced the approval of a €4.7 billion Italian support scheme for the production and distribution of advanced biofuels, including advanced biomethane, for use in the transport sector.  Under the scheme, producers of advanced biomethane and biofuels will receive a premium to compensate for higher production costs compared to fossil fuels.  The scheme will run from 2018 until 2022 and will be financed by transport fuel retailers who are required to blend a certain percentage of advanced biofuels and biomethane.  According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, “[t]he scheme will encourage the production and consumption of advanced biofuels in Italy, while limiting distortions of competition.”  Additionally, the measure will help Italy reach its 2020 target for the use of renewable energy in transport under the European Union Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Tags: EC, Biofuel

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On February 20, 2018, the European Commission (EC) issued a notice of initiation of an expiry review of antidumping (AD) measures applicable to imports of U.S. bioethanol.  The AD duty that has been in place since 2013 was set to expire on February 23, 2018.  The European Renewable Ethanol Association (e-PURE) petitioned the EC on behalf of producers representing more than 25 percent of the total European Union (EU) bioethanol production to review the AD measures due to the likely recurrence of injury to the EU industry.  E-Pure alleged that the removal of injury was the result of the existence of the AD measures and that an increase of imports at dumped prices from the U.S. would likely lead to a recurrence of injury to the EU industry should the measures be allowed to lapse.  Following its determination that sufficient evidence exists to justify an expiry review, the EC will investigate whether the removal of the AD measures will likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping of U.S. bioethanol.  The investigation will conclude within 15 months.


 

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.


 
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