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Notice

Biodiesel From Argentina: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Preliminary Affirmative Critical Circumstances Determination, in Part

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Commerce (the Department) preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of biodiesel from Argentina. The period of investigation is January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

DATES:

August 28, 2017.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elfi Blum-Page or Kathryn Wallace, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0197 or (202) 482-6251, respectively.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This preliminary determination is made in accordance with section 703(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). The Department published the notice of initiation of this investigation on April 19, 2017.[1] On June 5, 2017, the Department postponed the preliminary determination of this investigation to August 20, 2017. However, because August 20, 2017, falls on a Sunday, the preliminary determination was postponed until August 21, 2017.[2] A complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.[3] A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is included as Appendix II to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/​frn/​. The signed and electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

Scope of the Investigation

The product covered by this investigation is biodiesel from Argentina. For a complete description of the scope of this investigation, see Appendix I.

Scope Comments

In accordance with the preamble to the Department's regulations,[4] the Initiation Notice set aside a period of time for parties to raise issues regarding product coverage, (i.e., scope).[5] No interested party commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice.

Methodology

The Department is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Act. For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, the Department preliminarily determines that there is a subsidy, i.e., a financial contribution by an “authority” that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific.[6]

In making these findings, the Department relied, in part, on facts available and, because one or more respondents did not act to the best of their ability to respond to the Department's requests for information, an adverse inference was drawn, where appropriate, in selecting from among the facts otherwise available.[7] For further information, see “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences” in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

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Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, in Part

In accordance with section 703(e)(1) of the Act, the Department preliminarily determines that critical circumstances exist with respect to imports of biodiesel from Argentina for LDC Argentina and Vicentin, but do not exist with respect to all other exporters or producers not individually examined. For a full description of the methodology and results of the Department's analysis, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

All-Others Rate

Sections 703(d) and 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act provide that in the preliminary determination, the Department shall determine an estimated all-others rate for companies not individually examined. This rate shall be an amount equal to the weighted average of the estimated subsidy rates established for those companies individually examined, excluding any zero and de minimis rates and any rates based entirely under section 776 of the Act. In this investigation, the Department calculated individual estimated countervailable subsidy rates for LDC Argentina and Vicentin that are not zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts otherwise available. The Department calculated the all-others' rate using a weighted average of the individual estimated subsidy rates calculated for the examined respondents using each company's publicly-ranged values for the merchandise under consideration.[8]

Preliminary Determination

The Department preliminarily determines that the following estimated countervailable subsidy rates exist:

CompanySubsidy rate (percent)
LDC Argentina S.A.950.29
Vicentin S.A.I.C.1064.17
All-Others57.01

Suspension of Liquidation

In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(B) and (d)(2) of the Act, the Department will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise as described in the scope of the investigation section entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Further, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.205(d), the Department will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the rates indicated above.

Section 703(e)(2) of the Act provides that, given an affirmative determination of critical circumstances, any suspension of liquidation shall apply to unliquidated entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the later of (a) the date which is 90 days before the date on which the suspension of liquidation was first ordered, or (b) the date on which notice of initiation of the investigation was published. The Department preliminarily finds that critical circumstances exist for imports of subject merchandise produced and/or exported by LDC Argentina and Vicentin. In accordance with section 703(e)(2)(A) of the Act, the suspension of liquidation shall apply to unliquidated entries of merchandise from the exporters/producers identified in this paragraph that were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date which is 90 days before the publication of this notice.

Disclosure

The Department intends to disclose its calculations and analysis performed to interested parties in this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement, or if there is no public announcement, within five days of the date of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

Verification

As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, the Department intends to verify the information relied upon in making its final determination.

Public Comment and Request for Hearing

Case briefs or other written comments may be submitted to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance no later than seven days after the date on which the last verification report is issued in this investigation. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in case briefs, may be submitted no later than five days after the deadline date for case briefs.[11] Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2), parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this investigation are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.

Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing, limited to issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, whether any participant is a foreign national, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a time and date to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

International Trade Commission Notification

In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, the Department will notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of its determination. In accordance with section 705(b)(2) of the Act, if our final determination is affirmative,[12] the ITC Start Printed Page 40750will make its final determination within 45 days after the Department makes its final determination.

Notification to Interested Parties

This determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 703(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

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Dated: August 21, 2017.

Gary Taverman

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive function and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

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Appendix I—Scope of the Investigation

The product covered by this investigation is biodiesel, which is a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, including biologically-based waste oils or greases, and other biologically-based oil or fat sources. The investigations cover biodiesel in pure form (B100) as well as fuel mixtures containing at least 99 percent biodiesel by volume (B99). For fuel mixtures containing less than 99 percent biodiesel by volume, only the biodiesel component of the mixture is covered by the scope of the investigations.

Biodiesel is generally produced to American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) D6751 specifications, but it can also be made to other specifications. Biodiesel commonly has one of the following Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers, generally depending upon the feedstock used: 67784-80-9 (soybean oil methyl esters); 91051-34-2 (palm oil methyl esters); 91051-32-0 (palm kernel oil methyl esters); 73891-99-3 (rapeseed oil methyl esters); 61788-61-2 (tallow methyl esters); 68990-52-3 (vegetable oil methyl esters); 129828-16-6 (canola oil methyl esters); 67762-26-9 (unsaturated alkylcarboxylic acid methyl ester); or 68937-84-8 (fatty acids, C12-C18, methyl ester).

The B100 product subject to the investigation is currently classifiable under subheading 3826.00.1000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), while the B99 product is currently classifiable under HTSUS subheading 3826.00.3000. Although the HTSUS subheadings, ASTM specifications, and CAS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

Appendix II—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum

I. Summary

II. Background

III. Scope Comments

IV. Scope of the Investigation

V. Injury Test

VI. Preliminary Determination of Critical Circumstances

VII. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Facts Available

VIII. Subsidies Valuation

IX. Analysis of Programs

X. Calculation of All-Others Rate

XI. ITC Notification

XII. Disclosure and Public Comment

XIII. Verification

XIV. Conclusion

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Footnotes

1.  See Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigations, 82 FR 18423 (April 19, 2017) (Initiation Notice).

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2.  See Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations of Antidumping Duty Investigations, 82 FR 25773 (June 5, 2017); see also Notice of Clarification: Application of “Next Business Day” Rule for Administrative Determination Deadlines Pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930, As Amended, 70 FR 24533 (May 10, 2005).

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3.  See Memorandum, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Biodiesel from Argentina,” dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

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4.  See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, Final Rule, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

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5.  See Initiation Notice.

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6.  See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

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7.  See sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act.

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8.  With two respondents under examination, the Department normally calculates (A) a weighted average of the estimated subsidy rates calculated for the examined respondents; (B) a simple average of the estimated subsidy rates calculated for the examined respondents; and (C) a weighted average of the estimated subsidy rates calculated for the examined respondents using each company's publicly-ranged U.S. sale quantities for the merchandise under consideration. The Department then compares (B) and (C) to (A) and selects the rate closest to (A) as the most appropriate rate for all other producers and exporters. See, e.g., Ball Bearings and Parts Thereof from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews, Final Results of Changed-Circumstances Review, and Revocation of an Order in Part, 75 FR 53661, 53663 (September 1, 2010). As complete publicly ranged sales data was available, the Department based the all-others rate on the publicly ranged sales data of the mandatory respondents. For a complete analysis of the data, please see the All-Others' Rate Calculation Memorandum.

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9.  As discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, the Department has found the following companies to be cross-owned with LDC Argentina S.A.: LDC Semillas S.A., Semillas del Rosario S.A.

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10.  As discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, the Department has found the following companies to be cross-owned with Vicentin S.A.I.C.: Oleaginosa San Lorenzo S.A, Los Amores S.A.

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11.  See 19 CFR 351.309; see also 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

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12.  As of the signing of this notice, the petitioner (the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition) had not requested that the date of the final determination of this investigation be aligned with the date of the final determination of the companion antidumping investigation, pursuant to section 705(a)(1) of the Act. Therefore, the current date for the final determination of this investigation is 75 days from the signature of this preliminary determination, November 6, 2017.

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[FR Doc. 2017-18166 Filed 8-25-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P