Argentina files complaint against EU over Spanish blockage of biodiesel

Argentina filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the European Union, with the South American country accusing Spain of discriminating against its biodiesel exports, reports said on Tuesday.

“Argentina claims that Spain put in place a regulation in April that in effect discriminates against biodiesel imports from Argentina in favor of those produced in the European Union,” the WTO said in a statement.

With the complaint, Spain now has 60 days to show its rules are fair.

The filing comes after the EU made a complaint against Argentina’s import licensing rules. Trade relations between the two countries have soured since Argentina took control of oil company YPF, a subsidiary of Spain’s Repsol, in April.

Following that development, new Spanish legislation requires all imported biodiesel to be sourced from EU producers.

The measure effectively blocks imports of the fuel from Argentina, which had dominated Spain’s biodiesel market. Argentina has called the rules “protectionist”, warning they could cost it $1 billion/year in lost export earnings.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry said Spain’s rules were an attempt to stop developing countries from gaining more control of global value chains and expanding beyond their role as raw material suppliers, according to a statement obtained by news agency Reuters.

Spain’s rules are in line with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, which seeks to raise biofuels use and boost energy security.

However, Argentine officials accuse the measures of “violating WTO norms”.

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