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#Biodiesel: WTO Panel’s report on biodiesel from Argentina inconclusive

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banner_Biodiesel_v04_02The WTO Panel published on Wednesday 29 March its report in the case brought by Argentina regarding the EU anti-dumping measures on Argentinian biodiesel imports.

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) regards the Panel decision as a first episode in the legal battle engaged by Argentina and Indonesia in the WTO and before the European Court. EBB expects the Commission to appeal the questionable parts of the Panel report for review by the Appellate Body.

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) is a non-profit organisation who gathers 53 members across 21 Member-States. Biodiesel is the main European solution to reduce emissions from transport and dependence on imported oil. EBB aims to promote the use of biodiesel in the European Union and is committed to fulfil International standards for sustainability in GHG emissions and sustainable feedstock.

While EBB notes with satisfaction that the WTO Panel does not put into question the possibility of adjustments of costs and prices, as provided in the EU legislation, it fails to understand how the Panel could, under these circumstances, come to the conclusion that the method used by EU Commission, in order to correct the massive distortions caused by the Argentinean differential export tax (DET) system, was in violation of WTO law.

The government of Argentina initiated the proceeding at WTO level in December 2013, asking for the annulment of the EU anti-dumping measures. This action is part of a larger landscape of legal disputes over the EU anti-dumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, as the government of Indonesia has lodged a similar request for consultations six months following Argentina’s complaint. In parallel, a number of proceedings in the case have been lodged by Argentinean and Indonesian producers at the European Court of Justice.

The EBB is which is active in defending the European industry on all these fronts remain optimistic that it will be successful in convincing the WTO and the European Court to recognize the massive damages suffered by the EU biodiesel producers as a result of unfair imports.

"The European biodiesel industry will stand strong to defend its market from the harmful effects of the differential export tax mechanism, which has enabled the Argentinean biodiesel industry to export biodiesel to the EU at unfairly low prices and at times lower than the cost of biodiesel raw materials – a clear proof of dumping and unfair practice. The WTO Panel’s report is not an outright victory for the Argentinean industry, as many of its claims – together with the request to withdraw the EU anti-dumping duties - have been rejected by the WTO Panel. The EBB considers yesterday’s WTO decision only as a first episode in a long, strenuous legal battle over the legitimacy of the EU defence measures. This issue has implications that go well beyond the case of biodiesel as shown by the number of countries that have supported as third parties in this proceeding. It is thus essential that the Commission appeal the questionable parts of the report before the Appellate Body" stated EBB’s Secretary General, Raffaello Garofalo.

Argentina

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to #Chile and #Argentina

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Commissioner Jourová (pictured) will be in Chile today (9 July), as well as in Argentina on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July. The visit follows the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement and will focus on improving cooperation on data flows, advocating for strong convergence of data protection regimes, advancing bilateral judicial cooperation and discussing the issues of gender equality and antisemitism, among others. In Chile, Commissioner Jourová will meet Justice and Human Rights Minister Hernán Larraín Fernández, Finance Minister Felipe Larraín Bascuñán, Women and Gender Equality Minister Isabel Plá Jarufe, as well as the Trade Vice Minister Rodrigo Yañez. Data protection and gender equality will be on the agenda of the meeting with Chilean Senators Felipe Harboe Bascuñán, Jaime Quintana, Adriana Muñoz and Kenneth Pugh.

She will also discuss data protection with the representatives of Chilean and European trade associations and companies. Commissioner Jourová will then exchange views with the Chilean Transparency Council. Finally, she will deliver a keynote Speech at the University of Chile on the Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Era. Then in Buenos Aires, the visit includes exchanges with the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, German Garavano, with the President of the Senate, Federico Pinedo, the Chief of Staff of the Argentinian President, in charge of, among others, data protection topics, Marcos Pena, as well as with Senators Dalmacio Mera and Laura Rodríguez Machado. Commissioner Jourová will then meet with members of the Chamber of Deputies, Karina Banfi and Ezequiel Langan. She will then commemorate with the Argentinian Jewish community, and representatives of Christian and Muslim faiths, the 1994 bombing at the Jewish Community Center.Finally, she will deliver a keynote speech on the benefits of aligning data protection standards at the Privacy in a Globalised World conference. The event is organized under the framework of the “International Digital Cooperation – Enhanced Data Protection and Data Flows”project funded under the European Commission's Partnership Instrument.

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Presidents Juncker and Tusk at #G20Summit in #BuenosAires

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk will represent the European Union at this year's G20 Summit, under the Argentinian Presidency in Buenos Aires. The theme of this year's summit is 'Building consensus for fair and sustainable development'.

Along with the EU, leaders from 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States) will gather to mark the 10-year anniversary of the G20 and discuss key topics on the global agenda, ranging from globalization, trade and economics to climate change, migration and the fight against terrorism.

In a joint letter to Heads of State or Government ahead of the Summit, Presidents Juncker and Tusk set out the central role that the European Union is playing in shaping global affairs and championing multilateralism. They set out the EU's key priorities for this year's G20: Fair globalization and trade, stepping up our commitment to ambitious climate action, harnessing the future of work, building a more resilient international monetary and financial system and delivering on G20 commitments on counter-terrorism.

President Juncker will take part in a joint press conference with President Tusk, currently planned on Friday 30 November at 9h (local time), ahead of the first of the two days of the Summit (exact time to be confirmed). The European Commission has also published a brochure, Facts and Figures about the European Union and the G20.

More information on the G20 is available here.

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EU welcomes WTO ruling against Argentinian measures on imports

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13687270920775Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht today (22 August) welcomed a ruling by an independent panel at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that certain conditions which Argentina introduced for firms wishing to import goods into the country break WTO law.

Commenting on the ruling, Commissioner De Gucht said: "I've made standing up to protectionism one of the hallmarks of my term as EU Trade Commissioner. This case sends an important signal that protectionism is not acceptable. I call on Argentina to move quickly to comply with the ruling of the WTO panel andremove these illegal measures, and open the way for EU goods to compete fairly on the Argentinian market."

The EU submitted an official complaint about the measures in May 2012, along with the US and Japan. Today's WTO panel ruling upholds these claims and gives a clear verdict: Argentina may not require local importers or foreign firms to accept various practices forced upon them by the Argentinean authorities as a condition for being allowed to import goods into the country.

These practices include requirements to:

(a) Offset the value of their imports into Argentina with at least the equivalent in exports;

(b) limit their imports, either in volume or in value;

(c) reach a certain level of local content in their domestic production;

(d) invest in Argentina, and;

(e) keep any profits made in Argentina in the country.

The WTO panel also ruled against a procedure known as the Advanced Sworn Import Declaration ('Declaración Jurada Anticipada de Importación', or DJAI). This requires firms to secure approval by the Argentine authorities before importing goods.

Argentina introduced the measures as part of its so-called 'managed trade' policy. This aims to substitute imports for locally-sourced products and to reduce or eliminate the country's trade deficits with other countries or regions. The WTO's ruling ensures that Argentina cannot apply this policy by ignoring its obligations under the WTO. The measures have imposed a severe burden on importers of EU products into Argentina and also impair the capacity of foreign firms to operate in the country.

Background

The EU, Japan and the US launched a WTO dispute settlement case in May 2012. Initial consultations with Argentina in July 2012 did not bring an amicable solution. As a result, the WTO set up a panel in January 2013. All parties now have 60 days in which to appeal against the panel's ruling if they wish. If there is no appeal, or once an appeal is completed, Argentina will have to bring itself into compliance by changing these measures, either immediately or within a reasonable period of time. That period of time will either be negotiated between Argentina, the EU, the US and Japan, or fixed by a WTO arbitrator.

More information

Report by the WTO Panel
Q&As: EU's challenge to Argentina's import restrictions at the WTO (6 December 2012)

Press Release: EU challenges Argentina's import restrictions (25 May 2012)

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