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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)
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.