Argentine biodiesel exports to reach 500 million mt this year: lobby

29 Mar 2018 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentine biofuels exports are expected to fall nearly 60% this year to approximately 500,000 mt, Gustavo Idigoras, a consultant with Argentine biofuels lobby Carbio, told Energy Census this week.

The figures are down from 1.2 million mt last year, mainly due to anti-dumping measures adopted by the U.S government, which shut down that market for local exporters over dumping and subsidies allegations, he said.

“Last year, it was a record year in terms of biodiesel exports, particularly in the first half of the year with the sales to the U.S market and exports to European markets during the last months of the year. This year will be very complicated for biodiesel exporters and exports will be significantly lower,” Idigoras said.

The decision of the U.S government to set anti-dumping and anti-subsidies duties on Argentine biodiesel imports will keep that key market closed for local exporters for a five-year period, the consultant said.

The National Biodiesel Board, a trade group representing U.S. producers, had requested the government in March 2017 to set these duties, claiming the Argentine biodiesel imports were coming into the U.S market below the cost of production.

According to the latest statistics from Argentina’s Ministry of Energy, biodiesel exports totaled 214,000 mt in January.

The main markets for local biodiesel were the Netherlands and Malta and the value of biodiesel exports during the first month of the year totaled almost USD 149 million.

In December 2017, biodiesel exports had amounted to 170,800 mt, with an estimated value of USD 124.5 million. 

Earlier this year, the European Commission launched a new investigation into whether Argentine biodiesel exporters benefit from unfair subsidies, following a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board.

The investigation will seek to determine whether biodiesel producers in Argentina have benefitted from cheap soybeans, government support in buying biodiesel and other forms of subsidies such as loans or taxes not collected.

Idigoras said that if the European Commission finally sets anti-dumping and anti-subsidies duties, the European market will be also closed for Argentine biodiesel exports for a five-year period.