September 16, 2016 / 2:47 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-EU court annuls dumping duties on Argentina, Indonesia biodiesel

BRUSSELS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A European Union court delivered a series of rulings on Thursday to annul anti-dumping duties imposed on exporters of biodiesel from Indonesia and Argentina.

The EU in November 2013 set duties of 8.8 percent to 20.5 percent for Indonesian producers and between 22 percent and 25.7 percent for Argentine producers, in both cases to apply for five years.

The EU argued that by imposing an export duty on the raw product, soybeans in the case of Argentina and palm oil for Indonesia, they gave an advantage to domestic producers, which allowed them then to “dump” product at unfairly low prices.

Argentina and Indonesia, major exporters of biodiesel, have called the EU measures protectionist.

The cases have brought legal challenges, with the General Court of the European Union, the lower of the two EU courts, issuing its ruling on Thursday.

It said the prices of the raw materials - palm oil or soybeans - were not regulated and that the EU had failed to establish that there was appreciable distortion of the prices as a result of the differential export tax system.

The judgments will not take effect until Nov. 26, the deadline for a possible appeal. If an appeal is then filed, biodiesel exports from the two countries would also still be subject to duties until the entire legal case is concluded.

The European Commission is studying the implications of the case and the possible merits of an appeal, a source in the EU’s executive arm said.

The exporters include the Argentine arms of Cargill , Bunge as well as Molinos Rio de la Plata and Indonesia’s Ciliandra Perkasa.

Argentina and Indonesia have brought complaints before the World Trade Organization, with Argentina securing rulings in favour of several of its claims.

Some trade lawyers say the ruling could have far wider implications and determine future EU trade relations with China.

The European Union, in trying not to treat China as a special case, has said it could use international benchmark prices to work out the costs of producers, for example of steel, to assess whether manufacturers there are dumping product or benefiting from unfair subsidies. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Dale Hudson)

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