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Argentina challenges EU over biofuels

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Argentina has launched a new challenge to the European Union over the bloc's rules on the import of biofuels, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday.

"Argentina has notified the WTO Secretariat, on May 15, of a request for consultations with the European Union on measures imposed by the EU and/or its Member States that affect the importation and marketing of biodiesel and implementing measures as well as measures supporting the biodiesel industry," the Geneva-based body said in a statement.

Under the 159-nation WTO's rules, requesting consultations is the first step in an often complex trade dispute settlement process which can last for several years.

The WTO said that Argentina faulted measures applied not only by the 27-nation EU, but also specific policies in force in member states Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Poland.

Details of Argentina's complaint would be released in coming days, the WTO added.

The battle between Argentina and the EU over biofuels began in April 2012.

Spain slapped restrictions on imports in a tit-for-tat move after Argentina nationalised 51 percent of the shares in oil company YPF, up to them controlled by Spanish group Repsol.

Argentina requested consultations in August 2012, and in December asked for the creation of an official WTO panel to settle the dispute, before deciding just weeks later that Spanish legal changes to ease imports were sufficient.

But at the time, Argentina said that it reserved the right to launch a new challenge if the EU and its members fell short of what it wanted.

In the event that the WTO's disputes settlement body finds in Argentina's favour, it would have the power to authorise retaliatory trade measures against the EU if the 27-nation bloc failed to fall into line.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130515/argentina-challenges-eu-over-biofuels