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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

European Commission launches investigation into allegations of unfairly traded biodiesel from China

The European Commission launched an investigation Dec. 20 into allegations of dumping of biodiesel from China onto the EU market.


The launch of the antidumping investigation is based on a complaint by EU biodiesel producers.


EU producers have submitted evidence of biodiesel imports from China coming into the EU at artificially low prices and claim that these imports are seriously harming their industry because they cannot compete with such low prices, the European Commission stated.


In 2023, China was the largest exporter of biodiesel to the EU, according to the European Biodiesel Board.


“As a result of a resulting slump in the EU market, many members of EBB raised concerns about large-scale fraud involving certification under [Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive],” EBB stated Dec. 20. This led to the Commission and [the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)] to open investigations into the circumvention of duties on Indonesian biodiesel through China.”  


EBB stated that it also believes there are structural imbalances in the trade of Chinese biodiesel to Europe and is now supporting the European Commission to ensure European biodiesel producers can compete with their Chinese counterparts “on a level playing field in respect of international trade laws,” the organization stated.


EBB President Dickon Posnett said, “We at EBB are resolute that the European biodiesel industry will not tolerate these kinds of highly damaging unfair trading practices, and we will not cease to fight to protect our biodiesel production from them. Those unfair practices are causing serious injury to our producers at a time where the climate objectives of the EU require more sustainable biodiesel than ever. The EBB stands for fair trade practices and welcomes this announcement from DG Trade that will support continued European biodiesel investments, and which will help deliver to Europe the decarbonization that Europe—and the world—so urgently needs.”


The investigation, according to EBB, will demonstrate that imports of Chinese biodiesel are almost always categorized as “advanced” and “waste based,” as promoted under RED’s Annex IX, which have the highest costs and highest need for investments.


“However, Chinese exporters have no competitive advantage over EU producers, so they have practiced severe dumping, which caused extensive injury across the entire chain,” EBB alleged. “In 2023, Chinese dumped imports have caused a collapse in the market and production sites closed in several member states.”


If dumping is confirmed and is found to be harming EU producers, the European Commission may impose duties to remedy the effects of the unfair trading, if such measures are in the EU’s interest, the European Commission stated.


The European Commission’s decision on whether to impose antidumping duties is expected within the next seven to eight months.


The EBB said it is also working with the European Commission on the possibility of provisional duties owing to the level of imports and consequential damages to EU producers being so high.


“We are confident that the Commission and the governments in the EU are now well aware that these imports of biodiesel from China constitute an existential crisis for EU biodiesel producers, and we are committed to enforcing international trade laws to protect this industry, thereby delivering on the objectives of the EU Green Deal for transport,” said Xavier Noyon, EBB secretary general.


The EU biodiesel industry employs 3,700 people across 18 member states, and the EU biodiesel market is worth 31 billion euros (USD$34 billion) annually.



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