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EU action proves urgent as biofuel producers furlough workers

Brussels, 9 July 2024: While biodiesel from China continues to flood into the European markets, policy makers in the European Commission deliberate their response.
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB), which brought a trade case before the institutions, remains confident anti-dumping measures will be announced soon. However, the devastating effects of the situation are clearly shown throughout Europe. In mere weeks, Chevron Renewable Energy Group has furloughed German workers, Shell paused the construction of a biodiesel plant in the Netherlands, BP is pausing a biofuel project in Germany and Argent Energy even closed a biorefinery. While Chinese imports are not the only reason for these decisions, the biodiesel dumping has contributed to the difficulties producers face. The European biodiesel producers call for urgent action. Trusting informal exchanges with our members, we expect announcements to come out soon.

As a frontrunner in climate ambitions, the European Union has created a regulatory environment and market for biofuels. While the demand in Europe is only set to increase
due to legislative initiatives in the Fit for 55 Package, the biofuels to supply this demand may not come from Europe. The effects in scaling down or even halting production in FAME and HVO will be felt throughout the transport compromising Europe’s ability to produce the mandated fuel, required to defossilise the road, maritime and aviation transport. Meanwhile, through directions and heavy support by the Chinese government, the Chinese biodiesel industry has developed over the past years to almost exclusively
target the EU market.

The predicted and feared effect is there: Investments are being postponed. Construction halted. Capacity is dialed down. Workers are furloughed. Some European producers
that continue to operate are selling their product outside the EU. Customers in countries like the United States, that have successfully shielded their industry from Chinese biofuels dumping, can offer more competitive prices. The EU remains the largest importer
of biofuels in the world, while its domestic producers are forced to export.

The EU must act now to avoid the collapse of the EU industry and its upstream agricultural sector, and the dramatic impact on jobs across the EU. The feasibility of
achieving the EU climate goals depends on it. We cannot allow for this demand to be met by unfair and possibly fraudulent imports; now and in the future.

“Now is the time for the European Commission to act. The Fit for 55 Package
will require a huge uptake for all renewable fuels and precisely at the moment they are needed, business cases for investment have collapsed. The Commission has the tools to restore the level playing field, and we are confident they will act accordingly,”
says Xavier Noyon, the Secretary General of EBB.

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