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Argentina exports biodiesel to Canada after U.S. imposes tariffs

(Dave Bedard photo)

Buenos Aires | Reuters — Argentine biodiesel producer Ecofuel exported 29,000 tonnes of biodiesel to Canada in March and plans to make a new shipment of the same volume to the country this month, an advisor to biofuels industry group Carbio said Friday.

The deal, which marks Argentina’s first biodiesel exports to Canada, comes after the U.S. placed tariffs on imports of biodiesel from the South American country. Argentine producers say those tariffs effectively close off the U.S. market, which had previously been their main export destination.

“It is a test to see how that market can evolve,” Gustavo Idigoras, a Carbio advisor and director of the Business Issue Management consultancy, told Reuters. “In light of the current lack of markets it is a good option.”

Idigoras confirmed that the sale was made by Ecofuel, a joint venture between global grains trader Bunge and Argentina’s AGD. Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper had reported the sale earlier, citing Bunge’s institutional relations manager Guillermo Garcia.

Neither Bunge nor AGD immediately responded to requests for comment.

In the year through March 21, Argentina exported 254,000 tonnes of biodiesel, mainly to the European Union, government data show. Last year, the country exported a total of 1.7 million tonnes.

Idigoras said that while Canada would not compensate for the loss of the U.S. market, which accounted for 1.5 million tonnes in 2016, it had the potential to buy around 200,000 tonnes of Argentine biodiesel per year.

Reporting for Reuters by Maximilian Heath, writing by Luc Cohen.

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