Europe would accept an agreement to end disputes over Argentine biodiesel

Brussels (correspondent) .- The European Commission, which represents the commercial interests of the 28 member countries of the European Union, would be willing, according to a cable from the Reuters agency that Clarín was able to confirm from European sources on Tuesday, to accept a pact with Argentine producers of biodiesel.

It would be to close the dispute that has dragged for seven years by European accusations that biodiesel receives illegal aid according to European standards and therefore dumping (sale below cost) and must pay tariffs to enter the market European.

Argentine biodiesel producers would already be aware of the plans of the European Commission. The agreement would mean that the European Union would renounce the imposition of tariffs in exchange for Argentine biodiesel being sold in Europe at a minimum price that would be fixed by agreement.

Brussels is trying to find a solution that satisfies both Argentina and European biodiesel producers, who have been protesting for years because they consider that the national product receives illegal State aid that allows it to sell in Europe below the price of production, thus removing to the European biodiesel market by making it uncompetitive in prices.

A source from the European Commission explained to Clarin that Argentine producers must respond to the offer at the latest this week and that if they accept it, the governments of the European bloc should decide at the latest by the end of this month.

If there is no agreement, the tariffs will become permanent at the end of February and could be in effect for years. These tariffs would be, according to Clarín in December, between 25% and 33.4%.

The European Union imposed tariffs on Argentine biodiesel in 2013 and had to eliminate them in March 2018 after Argentine producers won a case before the World Trade Organization and another before the EU Court of Justice itself, which ruled that the Commission European Union had miscalculated the cost of producing the national biodiesel.

These opinions seemed to close the case and Brussels announced last September that it would not impose tariffs on Argentine biodiesel although it left the door open saying it would continue studying the case but “in view of the results (of its investigations), without imposing measures additional “.

Three months later, under pressure from European producers, he again changed his mind and threatened tariffs. In December, he said that “in view of the conclusions reached, a definitive tariff should be imposed to prevent the materialization of the imminent threat of material damage in the EU industry from subsidized imports.”

Brussels has always suspected that the Argentine government applies tax mechanisms or aid to producers to cheapen production, a practice that European competition rules prohibit.

The sources consulted in Brussels did not want to give more details about the possible pact, for example if it would include a maximum export quota in addition to a minimum price.