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France, Germany calls European Union to adopt stricter checks on biofuel imports

France and Germany have urged the European Union to implement stricter checks on overseas biofuel suppliers amid ongoing EU investigations into allegations of fraud in imports from Asia.

The European biodiesel industry has raised concerns about a surge in imports from China, suspecting that these imports are falsely labeled as being made from recycled oil and fat, while they are actually produced with cheaper and less sustainable virgin oil.

In a note submitted to an EU energy ministers meeting on Thursday, France, Germany, and the Netherlands emphasized the need to tighten checks on biofuel production sites “wherever they are located in the world.”

The note stated that certification of foreign biofuel as sustainable should be “rejected in case of refusal of access to the premises.”

An EU diplomat noted that while there were no objections to the proposal at Thursday’s meeting, no immediate action was taken, and the issue was referred to the European Commission for further follow-up.

The Commission is currently conducting several investigations into biofuel imports, including one on biodiesel from Indonesia potentially circumventing EU duties, and another on possible dumping of low-priced biodiesel from China.

Biodiesel, promoted as an alternative fuel to reduce carbon emissions in transport, has been encouraged in Europe to be made from recycled oil instead of virgin vegetable oil.

Some US producers have also raised concerns about an increase in shipments of recycled oil from China.

The EU biodiesel industry, valued at USD 33.6 billion annually according to the Commission, has frequently been involved in disputes with trading partners, particularly over the use of palm oil, which the EU views as a contributor to deforestation.

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