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WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday piled on more import duties on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, adding anti-dumping duties of 60.44 percent to 276.65 percent to already steep anti-subsidy duties on the fuels.
The final determination is subject to a second ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission on April 6 on whether U.S. biodiesel producers were injured by dumped imports from the two countries. But the independent panel has already found in the subsidy cases that the imports caused such injuries.
The latest duties make it virtually certain that biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia will not be sold in the U.S. market, with combined rates of up to 159 percent on the Argentine fuel and up to 341 percent on Indonesian variety.
The Commerce Department set final dumping duties for Argentine biodiesel at 60.44 percent to 86.41 percent, and for Indonesian biodiesel at 92.52 percent to 276.65 percent.
"Today’s decision allows U.S. producers of biodiesel to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of foreign producers dumping into the domestic market," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "While the United States values its relationship with Argentina and Indonesia, even our closest friends must play by the rules."
The latest duties come just two weeks after a budget deal in the U.S. Congress reinstated a $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit, which is expected to improve profitability for domestic producers.
The trade case was filed by the National Biodiesel Board and 15 member companies that alleged a flood of subsidized imports sold below fair market value was preventing U.S. producers from earning an adequate return.
"Today’s decision provides room for the domestic biodiesel industry to flourish and produce more volumes of this American-made fuel which provides so many economic and environmental benefits," Kurt Kovarik, the trade group's president, said in a statement.
A Commerce Department fact sheet on the determination can be seen at bit.ly/2EEJfU7. (Reporting by David Lawder, Eric Walsh and Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman)