Malaysian biodiesel production is likely to hit record levels this year and next, with 2018 exports on track to double from 2017, pushed up as higher oil prices boost the appeal of biofuels, the head of an industry association said on Wednesday. (Reuters Photo/Bazuki Muhammad)

US to Launch Probe Into Argentina, Indonesia Biodiesel Imports


APRIL 14, 2017

Washington/Jakarta. The United States said on Thursday (13/04) it would start an investigation into imports of biodiesel from Indonesia and Argentina for possible dumping and subsidization.

The US International Trade Commission is scheduled to make a preliminary decision by May 8 on whether such imports hurt US producers, the US commerce department said in a statement.

The step, just days ahead of a visit to Indonesia by US Vice President Mike Pence, comes after some US biodiesel producers last month asked their government to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia that they say have flooded the US market and violated trade agreements.

"The Indonesian government, especially the trade ministry, will be cooperative in the investigation by providing arguments and supportive data and documents to show that there was no dumping or subsidies," Oke Nurwan, Indonesia's director general for foreign trade, told Reuters.

Indonesia's biodiesel group said it had asked its government to bring up the issue during Pence's visit to Jakarta next week.

Argentina's biodiesel association Carbio has previously rebuffed dumping accusations.

Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, which can be used to churn out biodiesel. The nation relies heavily on resource exports.

Total US biodiesel imports rose to a record 3.5 billion liters in 2016, according to US government data published in March. Argentina represented about two-thirds of US foreign imports, followed by Indonesia and Canada.

Indonesia is also facing pressure in Europe, with its government filing a WTO complain against European Union anti-dumping duties on Indonesian biodiesel.

Meanwhile, the European parliament voted last week to call on the EU to phase out use of palm oil in biodiesel by 2020. Indonesia, along with Malaysia, plans to send a joint mission to Europe next month to prevent the adoption of that resolution.