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US calls on EU to delay new deforestation rules

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The regulation is due to come into force on 30 December 2024. Credit: Getty / catalby
The regulation is due to come into force on 30 December 2024. Credit: Getty / catalby
The US Government has urged the EU to delay the implementation of new regulations that will ban the import of commodities linked to deforestation.

Both Reuters and the Financial Times gained access to a letter sent to the European Commission on 30 May 2024 by senior US figures calling for the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) start date to be pushed back.

Signed by trade representative Katherine Tai, agriculture secretary Thomas Vilsack and commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, the letter states that US exporters are unlikely to be able to meet the deadline.

From 30 December, companies with more than 250 employees will be required to provide proof that their supply chain does not contribute to deforestation when trading soy, beef, coffee, palm oil and other products into the EU.

Commodities will also need to be produced in accordance with the relevant legislation of the country of production and be covered by a due diligence statement. 

"We therefore urge the European Commission to delay the implementation of this regulation and subsequent enforcement penalties until these substantial challenges have been addressed,”​ the US letter read.

It comes after 50 US senators wrote to Tai on 8 March requesting that the US seeks delays to the implementation of EUDR due to concerns that the new rules will “negatively impact producers by imposing costly requirements on exporters that will limit market access for the $3.5bn in US forest derived products entering the EU annually”.

Speaking to Reuters, a spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that the letter had been received.

"We keep the situation under constant review and we are working hard to ensure that all the conditions are met for smooth implementation of the law,"​ the spokesperson said.

Writing in Food Manufacture earlier this month, Fieldfisher’s Jessica Gardner and Aonghus Heatley provided a detailed overview of what is required under the EUDR.

In other news, senior figures from across the food and drink manufacturing sector discussed the growing conversation surrounding ultra-processed foods (UPFs)​ during a recent Business Leaders’ Forum session.

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