Indonesia says US biodiesel decision kills chance of fair trade

The decision allows US biodiesel producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of foreign producers dumping into its domestic market. (Reuters)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Indonesia says US biodiesel decision kills chance of fair trade

JAKARTA: The US’ recent decision to add anti-dumping duties on biodiesel from Indonesia is preventing Indonesia’s exporters from trading in the US market, Pradnyawati, director of trade security at Indonesia’s Trade Ministry, told Arab News.
Combined rates of up to 341 percent “make it impossible for Indonesia to compete in the US market,” she said.
Pradnyawati added the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties decisions against Indonesian biodiesel together represent “a clear abuse of the trade remedy laws” and the Indonesian government will take necessary measures to counteract mistreatment of its important industries.
“We will rely on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure the US abides by its obligations and that Indonesia’s right to a fair international trading system is protected,” she said.
Indonesia’s Trade Ministry said the US Department of Commerce applied methodologies inconsistent with WTO rules on its final determinations in the anti-dumping duties investigations of biodiesel imports from Indonesia.
After the Feb. 21 announcement, Indonesian biodiesel exporters will have to bear dumping duties at 92.52 to 276.65 percent, on top of 34.95 to 64.73 percent anti-subsidy duties announced in November 2017, which the ministry said were also determined using WTO-inconsistent methodologies.
“The US Department of Commerce’s use of the same methodology applied by the EU in these cases blatantly violates WTO law. Indonesia intends to challenge the USDOC decision at the WTO accordingly,” Pradnyawati said.
In January, Indonesia won its argument to defend its commodity against the EU’s 2013 decision to impose 8.8 to 23.3 percent dumping margin on its biodiesel at the WTO.
Indonesian Biodiesel Producers Association chairman Paulus Tjakrawan said the penalties have made local producers halt their exports to the US. He told Arab News it was unfounded for the US to allege that biodiesel exporters in Indonesia were profiting from government subsidy.
“We are very disappointed with the allegation and the exorbitant import duties,” he said, adding that Indonesian biodiesel companies and the government are challenging the anti-dumping penalties at the US Court of International Trade in New York.
According to Trade Map statistics, biodiesel import from Indonesia in the US was valued at $268 million in 2016 but has plummeted by 99.97 percent to $71,000 as of the third quarter of 2017 since the penalties were initiated.
The Commerce Department said in the Feb. 21 statement that it decided Indonesian exporters have sold biodiesel at 92.52 to 276.65 percent less than fair value in the US. The decision will result in Indonesian exporters having to pay cash deposits based on those rates to the US Customs and Border Protection.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the department’s decision allows US biodiesel producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of foreign producers dumping into its domestic market.
Ross also said that while the US values its relationship with Indonesia and Argentina — which is also slapped with anti-dumping duties at 60.44 to 86.41 percent — the two countries he described as the US’ “closest friends” must play by the rules.


US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

Updated 37 min 5 sec ago
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US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

  • Washington accuses UN Human Rights Council of bias against Israel.
  • UN rights chief: "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable".

UNITED NATIONS: The United States will announce on Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, which it accuses of bias against Israel, UN officials said.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley will make the announcement at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington at 5:00 p.m. (2100 GMT).
Haley has repeatedly threatened to quit the Geneva-based body, established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment ahead of the announcement, saying: “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully.”
“What is clear, is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the UN and the active participation of all member states in that architecture.”
UN officials privately confirmed they were expecting the US decision to quit the rights body.
The withdrawal followed strong UN criticism of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Monday “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”
Human Rights Watch criticized the move, warning that Washington’s absence at the top UN body would put the onus on other governments to address the world’s most serious rights problems.
“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth.
“The UN Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”
US criticism stems from the fact that Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item, known as Item 7, at the rights council, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians comes under scrutiny at each of the body’s three annual sessions.
The United Stated refused to join the body when it was created in 2006, when George W. Bush was in the White House and his ambassador to the UN was John Bolton, Trump’s current hawkish and UN-skeptic national security adviser.
It was only after Barack Obama came to power that Washington joined the council in 2009.
Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.