EU biofuel sector calls for measures on Chinese exports

  • Market: Biofuels
  • 01/06/23

European waste-based and advanced biofuels association Ewaba is calling on the EU to introduce "bold measures" on products certification, as stronger Chinese biodiesel exports weigh on markets in the bloc, forcing some facilities to stop or cut output.

In a letter to European Commission climate commissioner Frans Timmermans, Ewaba said that market practices in some exporting countries, China in particular, are challenging EU policies and certification practices, but declined to comment on possible EU trade measures, including anti-circumvention and anti-dumping procedures against Chinese and other imports.

The association said that 11 plants run by its members have already ceased output and a further 10 are operating below normal levels and are considering short-term stoppages.

There has been some concern among European market participants about the mislabelling of Chinese exports as 'advanced biofuels', which have led the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) to carry integrity audits at processing units in China and Singapore.

Ewaba today proposed a series of measures to address the issue at a policy level. These include the discontinuation of double counting waste-based and advanced biodiesel for product originating in third countries where audits cannot be conducted by member state authorities and/or integrity audits cannot be conducted by EU voluntary certification schemes.

It also wants to see retrospective measures to be taken on domestic sales following the withdrawal of voluntary scheme certification from for third country exporters. Ewaba also proposes that renewable fuel tickets — such as HBEs in the Netherlands, which are predominantly generated via the blending of biofuels into fossil fuels — should be withdrawn "regardless of any onward sales of those certificates" if these are subsequently found to have been earned fraudulently.

China's biodiesel exports fell by 17pc to 178,000t in April from 215,000t in March, but were still considerably higher compared with the same month a year earlier. Chinese biodiesel exports in January-February more than doubled on the year to 455,000t. This was supported by a short-term price rebound in Europe at the end of December and first half of January this year.

Total Chinese exports of biodiesel in the first four months of 2023 hit 848,198t — predominantly destined for the EU — compared with 478,123t in the same period of 2022.


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