* EU diplomats discuss us biodiesel dumping/subsidy duties
* Duties to range from 26 to 41 Euros/100 kg
* Duties to apply for six months, if approved
By Darren Ennis
BRUSSELS, March 2 (Reuters) - A key EU trade panel will be asked by the bloc’s executive on Tuesday to back anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, which are irritating trade relations with Washington.
The European Commission, which oversees trade for the 27-nation bloc, will propose duties on U.S. firms ranging from 26 euros ($32.74) to 41 euros per 100 kg, according to a draft seen by Reuters.
Under the proposal archer Daniels Midland (ADM.N) will face duties of 26 euros per 100 kg, CargilL CARG.UL 27 euros per 100 kg, Imperium Renewables 29 Euros per 100 kg, GreeN Earth Energy Fuels 28 per 100 kg and World Energy Alternatives 29 per 100 kg.
Peter Cremer North America and most other U.S. biodiesel companies exporting to Europe will pay 41 per 100 kg if the EU’s anti-dumping committee of 27 national trade diplomats rubber-stamp the proposal.
The duties would begin March 13 and remain in place for up to six months when the Commission must then decide whether to propose “definitive” duties which normally last for five years. Definitive duties must be approved by EU governments before coming into force.
Brussels began a probe into imports of U.S. biodiesel last year following a complaint from EU producers of biodiesel — by far the main biofuel produced in Europe — who said they were being hammered by U.S. subsidies that they said distorted the growing international trade in plant-based fuels.
Imports from the United States into Europe are larger than from any other country and increased from about 7,000 tonnes in 2005 to more than 1.5 million tonnes last year.
But the U.S. government under George Bush and U.S. biodiesel industry said the european complaint is a “protectionist ploy.”
EU producers are particularly unhappy with subsidies for so-called b99 — biodiesel with small amounts of mineral diesel — that were distorting global trade rules.
They say exporters in the United States are involved in what they describe as “splash and dash” whereby they import cheaper biodiesel from countries such as Brazil and add less than five percent of U.S. mineral diesel so they can pick up the subsidy from Washington before exporting to Europe.
The EU has long encouraged the production of so-called “green” biofuels — once hailed as a way of reducing the world’s reliance on crude oil and slowing climate change.
But many scientists and environmental groups contend that their production has contributed to food price inflation, depleted rainforests and failed to save substantial greenhouse gas emissions. (Editing by Peter Blackburn)