(Adds industry statements, details)
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Argentine biodiesel exporters said shipments could be halted after Washington decided on Tuesday to impose duties on imports it said were unfairly subsidized.
The U.S. Commerce Department will impose countervailing duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel ranging from 50.29 percent to 64.17 percent for biodiesel from Argentina and 41.06 percent to 68.28 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia.
Argentina accounts for two-thirds of U.S. biodiesel imports, which totaled 916 million gallons (3.5 billion liters) in 2016, according to U.S. government data. Total U.S. biodiesel consumption is about 2 billion gallons.
Argentine biodiesel association Carbio said the duties would result in the immediate suspension of exports to the United States.
U.S. trade group Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) said the duties would raise fuel prices.
"Fuel provided from ocean-going trade is far cheaper for coastal communities than Midwest products transported via rail," said ABFA President Michael McAdams. "We believe that the federal government is capable of finding a better resolution to this issue that will benefit all countries involved."
The finding comes after the U.S. National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in March asked the government to impose countervailing and antidumping duties against the foreign imports, claiming the supplies were entering the country below market value and undercutting U.S. biodiesel producers.
"We're grateful that the Commerce Department has taken preliminary steps that will allow our industry to compete on a level playing field," said NBB Chief Executive Officer Doug Whitehead. (Reporting by Eric Walsh in Washington, Michael Hirtzer in Chicago and Jarrett Renshaw in New York; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Sandra Maler)