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New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions on Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia

New antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions were filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on March 23, 2017, regarding biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. The petitioner is the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which is an ad hoc coalition association consisting of the National Biodiesel Board and 15 companies. The petitioner redacted the names of the specific companies from the public version of the petition.

The U.S. AD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States at less than “normal value.” The U.S. CVD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports sold in the United States that benefit from unfair foreign government subsidies. For AD and CVD duties to be imposed, the U.S. government must determine not only that dumping and subsidization is occurring, but also that there is “material injury” (or threat thereof) by reason of the dumped imports. Importers are liable for any potential AD/CVD duties imposed. In addition these investigations could impact purchasers by either increasing prices and/or decreasing supply of biodiesel.

Scope:

The petitioner proposes the following scope of investigation:

The product covered by these petitions is biodiesel, which is a fuel comprised of monoalkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, including waste oils or greases, and other biologically-based oil or fat sources. The petitions cover biodiesel in pure form (“B100”) as well as fuel mixtures containing at least 99 percent biodiesel by volume (“B99”). For fuel mixtures containing less than 99 percent biodiesel by volume, only the biodiesel component of the mixture is covered by the scope of the petitions.

Biodiesel is generally produced to American Society for Testing and Materials International (“ASTM”) D6751 specifications, but it can also be made to other specifications. Biodiesel commonly has one of the following Chemical Abstracts Service (“CAS”) numbers, generally depending upon the feedstock used: 67784-80-9 (soybean oil methyl esters); 91051-34-2 (palm oil methyl esters); 91051-32-0 (palm kernel oil methyl esters); 73891-99-3 (rapeseed oil methyl esters); 61788-61-2 (tallow methyl esters); 68990-52-3 (vegetable oil methyl esters); 129828-16-6 (canola oil methyl esters); 67762-26-9 (unsaturated alkylcarboxylic acid methyl ester); or 68937-84-8 (fatty acids, C12-C18, methyl ester).

The B100 product subject to the petitions is currently classifiable under subheading 3826.00.1000 of the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (“HTSUS”), while the B99 product is currently classifiable under HTSUS subheading 3826.00.3000.13 Although the HTSUS subheadings, ASTM specifications, and CAS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

Alleged Dumping Margins:

Petitioner alleges a dumping margin of 23.3 percent for imports from Argentina and a dumping margin of 34.0 percent for imports from Indonesia.

Estimated Schedule of Investigations:

  • March 23, 2017 – Petitions are filed

  • April 12, 2017 – DOC initiates AD/CVD investigations

  • April 13, 2017 – ITC staff conference

  • May 8, 2017 – Deadline for ITC preliminary injury determination

  • June 16, 2017 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if deadline is not postponed

  • August 21, 2017 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if deadline is fully postponed

  • August 30, 2017 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if deadline is not postponed

  • October 19, 2017 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if deadline is fully postponed

  • March 5, 2018 – Deadline for DOC final AD and CVD determinations, if both preliminary and final AD determinations are fully postponed and CVD deadline is aligned

  • April 19, 2018 – Deadline for ITC final injury determination, assuming fully postponed DOC deadlines

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About this Author

Douglass Heffner, International trade lawyer, Drinker Biddle
Partner

Douglas J. Heffner litigates customs and international trade matters including antidumping duty, countervailing duty and safeguard cases. He represents foreign companies in Canada, Europe, Japan and Mexico, as well as domestic producers in industries that range from high-tech to heavy industry, to consumer and industrial goods. He also represents trade associations, government agencies and embassies in a broad range of matters.

202-230-5802
Richard P Ferrin, International Trade Lawyer, Drinker Biddle
Counsel

Richard P. Ferrin advises clients about international trade regulations, particularly antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings at both the administrative and appellate levels. He advocates for his client in global “safeguards” proceedings and on customs matters involving classification issues and country-of-origin determinations. Richard has represented foreign manufacturers, foreign exporters, and U.S. importers in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and in judicial review of administrative actions at the U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and North American Free Trade Agreement binational panels. In addition, Richard advises importers on how to minimize antidumping duty liability.

202-230-5803