Van Bael & Bellis obtains successful result for Vitol in CJEU judgment regarding EU anti-dumping measures for biodiesel from Argentina
VBB managing partner Philippe De Baere and associate Lucas Verborgh represented multinational energy and commodity trading company Vitol SA (Vitol) in its successful challenge before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of Council Implementing Regulation 1194/2013 (Regulation). The Regulation imposes a definitive anti-dumping duty on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia.
In 2016, the CJEU had annulled the Regulation for exporting producers who had directly appealed it. However, as Vitol was not among these, it could not benefit from the annulment and a number of its imports from Argentina into Belgium and the Netherlands consequently remained subject to anti-dumping duty.
As an unrelated biodiesel importer, Vitol could not itself bring a direct action for annulment against the Regulation. Instead, it challenged the Regulation’s legality by requesting a Belgian court to make a preliminary reference to the CJEU.
In its judgment of 22 June 2023, the CJEU found that the Regulation was invalid and violated Council Regulation 1225/2009. In particular, the CJEU agreed with Vitol that the Council’s injury determination was fundamentally flawed since it was based on the illegal cumulation of the effects of imports from Argentina with those from Indonesia.
The judgment confirms that importers, even if unable to make a direct appeal against a Regulation imposing anti-dumping duties, can still obtain a finding of invalidity of the Regulation and the repayment of paid duties through the preliminary reference procedure.