Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The European Commission has sent questionnaires to Indonesian biofuel producers in the first part of an anti-dumping investigation, a local trade group official says.
Biofuel Producers Association (Aprobi) secretary-general Paulus Cakrawan said that the commission sent questionnaires to local biodiesel producers on September 17.
"Some of the companies that export biofuel to Europe have answered the questionnaires. We have also prepared relevant data, just in case they need more explanation," Paulus said in Jakarta on Thursday.
Paulus said that the Indonesian government sent a letter to the European Union (EU), denying the dumping allegations and explaining the specifics of the nation's biodiesel business.
According to Paulus, the questionnaires were sent to 27 local biofuels firms, including producers, retailers, and exporters.
"However, only seven firms have answered the questionnaires and returned them. The rest of the firms refused to answer because they did not sell their commodities in Europe or else the firms are no longer operational," he said.
Paulus said that he was sure that the dumping allegations could be resolved so as not to affect Indonesian biodiesel exports.
In August, European producers filed a complaint alleging that Indonesian and Argentine biodiesel was being sold very cheaply in Europe and that the practice might hurt local European producers.
The head of the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), which represents 75 producers and nearly 80 percent of European biofuel output, said that the EU had experienced a surge in Argentine and Indonesian imports, leading to several bankruptcies and forcing European producers to sell below cost and to cut annual production.
From very low levels in 2008, imports from the two countries progressively rose to a total of around 2.5 million tons in 2011, or more than 90 percent of the EU's biofuel imports, according to Eurostat.
The EBB, citing market sources, said that Argentine and Indonesian imports have been sold for between US$60 and $110 a ton less than EU biodiesel, while soybean oil has been sold for around $100 a ton more than imported soybeans.
At present, Indonesia has set its biodiesel fuel price at US$1,020 a ton, slightly below the average price of US$1,200 per ton in the international market, Paulus said.
According to data from the Trade Ministry, Indonesia's exports of biofuel were 544,679 tons in 2010, up 187.93 percent from 2009.
The trend has since continued, with biofuel exports increasing by 155.46 percent to 971,877 tons during the January-to-August period in 2011 compared to the same period last year.
Analysts have warned that the EU would enact measures to protect its locally produced biodiesel makers, which might include an anti-dumping duty or other additional compensatory tariffs.
The deputy director of the ReforMiner Institute, Komaidi Notonegoro, told The Jakarta Post that relevant government institutions such as the Trade Ministry, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, and the customs office should respond to the allegations by giving the commission accurate data on Indonesia's biofuel production.
"It would not be difficult to prove whether Indonesia has truly practiced dumping or not. It could be seen from the data, including pricing and trade volume data," Komaidi said.
Komaidi added that such dumping allegations were to be expected given the increasing competition in the biofuel market, especially in the EU.