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

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.


Fears of Islamophobia in the UK even as record number of Muslim MPs elected 

Updated 30 min 42 sec ago

Fears of Islamophobia in the UK even as record number of Muslim MPs elected 

  • MCB warning comes after Johnson’s landslide election result
  • UK saw a record number of 220 women elected to the House of Commons   

LONDON: There is a “palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities” in the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has warned, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a crushing victory in the 2019 general election.
“We entered the election campaign period with longstanding concerns about bigotry in our politics and our governing party. Now we worry that Islamophobia is ‘oven-ready’ for government. Mr Johnson has been entrusted with huge power, and we pray it is exercised responsibly for all Britons,” the MCB’s Secretary-General Harun Khan said. 
The warning came as accusations of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party continue to plague it.
Despite concern that Islamophobia is “oven-ready” for government, a record number of Muslim MPs were elected on Thursday, with 19 winning seats in the general election; an increase of four from the last election in 2017.
Of these, 15 belong to the Labour Party and the other four, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, are Conservatives. 
As the UK saw a record number of 220 women elected to the House of Commons, this trend was also seen in the number of Muslim women, with 10 winning seats. 
Despite this, Muslims are still not proportionally represented in parliament.
Only 3 percent of the UK’s 650 MPs are Muslim, whilst the country’s Muslim population stands at around 5 percent.
The MCB’s concerns about bigotry and Islamophobia were echoed on Thursday by ex-party chairwoman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the first female Muslim cabinet member.
Warsi said the Conservative Party “must start healing its relationship with British Muslims,” and the fact that her colleagues in the party had retweeted comments from Islamophobes Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins was “deeply disturbing.” 
She added: “An independent inquiry into Islamophobia is a must — the battle to root out racism must now intensify.”
The Tory peer has repeatedly called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, and told BBC Radio 4’s Today program in November that the party had a “deep problem” with Islamophobia. 
“Remember, we’re now four years into these matters first being brought to the attention of the party … the fact that we’re still prevaricating about even having an inquiry, and the kind of inquiry we’re going to have, shows just how dismissive the party have been on the issue of Islamophobia.”

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi (L) attend a general election campaign event in Bolton, Britain December 10, 2019. (Reuters)


Later in November, Johnson apologized for the “hurt and offence” that had been caused by Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, and said that an inquiry into “every manner of prejudice and discrimination” would begin by Christmas. 
Despite apologizing, he remained silent about his own comments on Muslim women wearing the niqab in his Daily Telegraph column in August 2018, when he wrote that Muslim women wearing it “look like letter boxes” or “bank robbers.”
Fourteen party members were suspended in March after posting Islamophobic or racist comments on social media, and a member who had previously been suspended in 2015 for comments on social media was due to stand in local elections this year. 
Peter Lamb was readmitted to the party after he had served a suspension and apologized for his comments.
Lamb, who has since quit the party, tweeted in 2015: “Islam (is) like alcoholism. The first step to recovery is admit you have a problem.”
Yasmin Qureshi, a female Muslim Labour MP, has held her Bolton South East seat since 2010 and was re-elected on Thursday for the fourth time.
Speaking to Arab News, Qureshi said many Muslims were “very fearful and very disappointed” at Johnson’s victory.
“Generally, you can say whatever you want about Muslims in this country now and nobody is really bothered, nobody challenges it, and if it is challenged, it is very mildly dealt with.
“Islamophobia is a big issue and although everybody rightly spoke about anti-semitism, there was not as much emphasis and talk about Islamophobia.
“Islamophobia is not just in the Conservative party, it is actually in the establishment. It is especially present in the media in this country; most of the newspapers of our country are very right-wing and anti-Muslim.
She added: “It doesn’t matter whether you malign Muslims, it’s essentially okay, you can get away with it. That is sadly a reflection of the current state of affairs in the UK.”