French oilseed processor Saipol, part of the Avril Group, plans to drastically reduce its biodiesel production and seed crushing starting February next year due to an influx of Argentine biodiesel into Europe. The production cut would affect all of the company’s five esterification plants in France, in addition to crushing activities at the same sites. Production of rapeseed biodiesel would be cut by 60% with output falling from 1.3 million tons in 2017 to a projected 700,000 tons in 2018, while crushing volumes were set to fall 30% from 3.5 million tons in 2017 to 2.5 million tons. The move came in response to European Commission’s (EC) decision in September to cut anti-dumping duties on Argentine biodiesel from 22-25.7% to 4.5- 8.1%, which Saipol said added further pressure on a market already suffering from deteriorating economic and regulatory conditions. The company’s biodiesel sales had, in combination with production overcapacity and under-activity of its biodiesel production and crushing units, already declined significantly since the end of August. According to the company, the duty cut, combined with Argentina’s own subsidies, removed all barriers to massive imports into Europe and gave Argentine biodiesel a competitive edge to which the French biodiesel sector had no response. It is estimated that up to 1.75 million tons of soybean oil-based biodiesel could be imported into Europe from Argentina annually and claimed that the French sector would not be able to deal with the competition if no countermeasures were implemented by the EU.