Cheap US ethanol imports threaten EU industry

US fuel ethanol imported into the EU has been dodging anti-dumping duties, the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) claims.

The EU imposed an anti-dumping duty on US fuel ethanol of €62.90/t in February 2013 in a bid to stop cheap foreign fuel undercutting the European industry.

ePURE, which represents 53 companies and 90% of Europe’s production capacity, has complained to the European Commission that US ethanol is exported to Norway – where the duty does not apply – before being sold into the EU for less than market price.

Norwegian imports of US fuel ethanol have grown 10-fold during the past year, while fuel ethanol exports from Norway into the EU, mainly in the form of ethanol/gasoline blends, have also increased, the association said.

ePURE claimed this trade pattern, which started after the duties were imposed, had no other economic justification than avoiding the tax and was injuring the EU fuel ethanol industry.

HGCA senior analyst Jack Watts said there was a fear the EU’s anti-dumping duty might not be enough to keep US ethanol out of the market.

“One of the big challenges for both of the UK’s ethanol producers is that there is overcapacity in ethanol production in Europe at the moment and concern about US ethanol entering the EU,” he said.

“EU ethanol production capacity in 2013 was 75m h/l compared with production of 50-55m h/l. It’s a very challenging ethanol market.”

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