EU clears soybeans for biofuel |

EU clears soybeans for biofuel

The European Commission said today it had concluded that U.S. soybeans can be used in biofuels in the European Union, Reuters reported.

The decision is “part of the bloc’s push to improve strained trade relations with the United States,” Reuters added.

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., credited talks between President Donald Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the decision.

“We appreciate the administration’s continued progress on securing better trade deals. Today’s decision will bring vital market access for our state and nation’s farmers,” Hoeven said.

Hoeven noted that the decision will remain in effect until July 1, 2021, but may be extended should the U.S. meet additional requirements. U.S. exports of soybeans to the EU have more than doubled compared to the previous market year, with the U.S. maintaining a 75 percent share in the EU soybean market, Hoeven added.

The American Soybean Association noted that the decision was based on U.S. compliance with EU sustainability standards.

“The EU requires biofuels to meet a set of sustainability criteria outlined in its Renewable Energy Directive. The U.S. soy industry has its own sustainability guideline, the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol that, with this announcement, the EU acknowledges meets its rigorous RED requirements,” ASA said.

American Soybean Association President Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., said, “U.S. farmers have long prided themselves on adopting newer and better methods for producing high-quality soybeans that are grown responsibly and sustainably. The SSAP sets a high standard that demonstrates that commitment, and we are pleased that the EU Commission has recognized our efforts by opening the door for SSAP-certified soybeans to be used in EU biodiesel.”

The United States is the lead supplier of soybeans to the EU, and while this announcement applies only to soybeans exported for biodiesel, ASA sees it as a positive step for enhancing its EU market and validating the quality of the SSAP sustainability initiative, ASA added.