(Adds details on duty decision dates, biofuel uses)
By David Lawder and Michael Hirtzer
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO May 5 The U.S. International
Trade Commission voted on Friday to continue a U.S. Commerce
Department investigation into alleged dumping and unfair
subsidies of biodiesel fuels from Argentina and Indonesia,
moving a step closer to punitive U.S. duties.
The 5-0 decision followed the initiation of Commerce
Department probes in April after U.S. biodiesel producers
claimed that soaring imports from Argentina and Indonesia were
dumped at prices below production costs, harming their ability
to produce the fuels.
The next step in the probe is for the U.S. Commerce
Department to determine whether to impose preliminary
countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties, with those
decisions expected on or around June 16 and Aug. 30,
respectively, the ITC said in a separate statement.
Futures prices for soyoil, the most common feedstock
used in U.S. biodiesel production, surged nearly 3 percent ahead
of the vote before trimming gains. CBOT soyoil for July delivery
settled 0.40 cent higher at $32.90 cents per pound, off their
earlier six-week high of $33.47.
Prices of biomass-based diesel (D4) renewable fuel credits
(RINs) for the current year traded from $1.01 to $1.045 each,
rising in the wake of the vote, traders said.
U.S. biodiesel makers Archer Daniels Midland Co and
Renewable Energy Group Inc praised the ITC vote.
Renewable Energy's shares jumped 16 percent while ADM shares
were about flat.
"The facts clearly show that Argentina and Indonesia are
engaging in unfair trade practices, and we are confident that
duties will be imposed when the final decision is made," said
Ray Bradbury, president of biodiesel at ADM, one of the
petitioners for the dumping investigation.
Argentina's biodiesel association Carbio declined to
Imports of soy-based biodiesel from Argentina and palm
oil-based biodiesel from Indonesia rose 464 percent from 2014 to
2016, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).
U.S. biodiesel imports in 2016 hit a record 916 million
gallons (3.5 billion liters), according to U.S. government data.
Argentina represented about two-thirds, followed by Indonesia
and Canada. The imports accounted for nearly half of U.S.
biodiesel demand for 2 billion gallons.
Most is blended with regular diesel for motor fuel, with
some used as heating fuel or to generate electricity.
"Today's decision in our favor is an important next step for
the U.S. biodiesel producers suffering because of the flood of
imports," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs
(Additional reporting by Chris Prentice in New York and Eric
Walsh in Washington; editing by Andrew Hay, Cynthia Osterman and