Earlier this week, the EU placed a tariff on U.S. biofuels, citing unfair subsidies:
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union slapped import fees on U.S. biodiesel Thursday, saying it had to protect European producers from unfair American subsidies and below-cost selling.
The EU fees will affect biodiesel sold by Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill Inc. and several others to Europe, the world’s biggest user and producer of crop-based fuels.
EU trade spokesman Lutz Guellner said the fees were based on “clear evidence that unfair subsidization and dumping of U.S. biodiesel has taken place and that this is harming otherwise competitive EU industry with potentially dire long-term effects.”
The EU said U.S. biodiesel producers sold biodiesel to Europe far below the real costs of production and received federal tax credits and state subsidies.
It said this helped U.S. exporters increase their share of the EU market for biodiesel from 0.4 percent in 2005 to more than 17 percent from April 2007 to March 2008.
<a href="http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/american-biodiesel-makers-reeling/-2617″>And now the U.S. layoffs:
Last week Imperium Renewables, one of the country’s biggest biodiesel refiners, cut 24 employees — which according to the Seattle Times amounts to a majority of the staff at its Washington state plant.
The move came in the same week that the European Union introduced a tariff on biodiesel imported from the United States, effectively slashing a major market for American producers.
“The European market was a significant market for American producers because the prices were higher, and they were further along on their requirement for biodiesel,” said Martin Tobias, a former chief executive of Imperium who left the company 15 months ago and has since started a new venture called Kashless.org.