May 17, 2019 / 7:04 PM / 4 months ago

Argentina seeks faster U.S. review of biodiesel tariffs

May 17 (Reuters) - Argentina has requested that the United States accelerate its review of anti-dumping duties it currently slaps on biodiesel imports from the South American nation, one of the world’s top exporters of the fuel.

Argentina’s Minister of Production and Labor Dante Sica, during a trip to Washington, told reporters on Friday he had asked for the “greatest speed” from U.S. counterparts to find a “quick solution towards being able to enter the market.”

Argentina, South America’s second largest economy, had requested a review last November of U.S. tariffs imposed at the end of 2017 due to allegations of subsidies and dumping, which in effect shut off access for Argentine exporters to the U.S. market.

Sica, who met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday, told reporters in a live press conference and by phone that the American official had “showed the greatest understanding of the importance of this issue for Argentina.”

He added, however, that Ross was nonetheless constrained by U.S. legal and technical processes.

Argentine exports of biodiesel to the United States before anti-dumping measures came into effect totaled some $1.5 billion per year, which in 2016 was a quarter of the total value of Argentine exports to the United States, official data show.

Argentina’s biodiesel sector in recent years has been hit by trade sanctions for allegations of unfair competition.

In February, the European Union, which had also imposed tariffs on the country’s biodiesel, authorized eight Argentine-based producers to export the fuel to the bloc without paying duties as long as they agreed to a minimum set price. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires Writing by Adam Jourdan Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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