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EU to investigate Chinese biodiesel dumping allegation

The European Union said it would begin an anti-dumping investigation into biodiesel imports from China, which the bloc's industry says has slashed domestic production.

In August, it began investigating whether biodiesel from Indonesia was circumventing EU duties by going through China and Britain. The latest investigation, prompted by a complaint from producer group the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), will cover the period from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30 2023.

The probe will take up to 14 months, with the possibility of provisional duties being imposed within eight months.

"EU producers have submitted evidence of biodiesel imports from China coming into the EU at artificially low prices and claim that these imports are seriously harming their industry because they cannot compete with such low prices," the European Commission said in a statement.

China has been the biggest biodiesel exporter to the 27-member bloc in 2023, the EBB said in a separate statement.

"In 2023, Chinese dumped imports have caused a collapse in the market and production sites closed in several member states," the EBB added.

In addition to the possible transit of Indonesian biodiesel, there were structural imbalances in biodiesel trade with China, with prices not reflecting the advanced or waste-based biofuel categories that most cargoes have been classified as, it said.

China "firmly opposes protectionist behaviour that abuses trade remedy measures," Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shu Jueting said when asked about the investigation at a regular press conference.

Biodiesel is among the alternative fuels promoted to reduce carbon emissions in transport. The EU's industry, which the Commission says is worth 31 billion euros ($34 billion) a year, has been the subject of regular disputes with trading partners.

It can be made using palm oil and shipments from Indonesia have been caught up in EU measures to restrict imports of commodities linked to deforestation.

In a separate trade dispute with Beijing, the Commission in September launched a probe into Chinese electric vehicle imports it says are benefiting from state subsidies.

China criticised the EU probe, calling it a "naked protectionist act".

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