Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced on Monday the preliminary determinations of the antidumping duty investigations of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. The investigation found that exporters from Argentina sold biodiesel in the United States at dumping margins of 54.36 and 70.05 percent.

Imports of biodiesel to the United States has been rising in recent years. In 2016 the US imported $2.04 billion of biodiesel with $1.26 billion coming from Argentina.

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Secretary Ross instructed Customs and Border Protection officials to collect cash deposits from importers of biodiesel from Argentina based on those preliminary rates.

“The Trump Administration is committed to both free and fair trade and will defend American workers against unfair trade practices,” said Secretary Ross.  “Still, we are thankful to the Government of Argentina for their proactive approach to solving this issue, and remain optimistic that a negotiated solution can be reached both with Argentina and with Indonesia.”

Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship requested negotiations with the United States to eliminate the new antidumping duty as well as US countervailing duties already placed on biodiesel from Argentina, reported Reuters.

The Ministry said in a statement that the “possible application of additional duties has no practical effect in terms of real market access” since countervailing duties of up to 64.17 percent were applied in August, effectively pricing biodiesel from Argentina out of the US market.

This has been an issue between both countries for months.

On March 24, 2017, the Argentine government roundly rejected a petition filed by the United States National Biodiesel Board which accused producers in Argentina of exporting biodiesel to the US at dumping prices and unfairly benefiting from government subsidies.

The government cited previous international rulings in favor of Argentina in similar cases before the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body and the General Court of the European Union.

Doug Whitehead, COO of the National Biodiesel Board, praised the Trump administration’s preliminary determination. “It is reassuring with each decision that the Commerce Department is reviewing the data and facts at face value,” he said.

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