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21. September 2023: Why the Global South is against the EU's anti-deforestation law

Seventeen countries from the so-called Global South have expressed their exasperation at the European Union's anti-deforestation legislation and the impact it could have on their exports of commodities such as soy, palm oil, cocoa, beef, coffee or timber.
Ambassadors from 17 countries described the EU regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR) as an "inherently discriminatory and punitive unilateral benchmarking system that is potentially inconsistent with WTO obligations" in a letter sent to EU Commission and Parliament officials earlier this month.

The signatories — from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, and Thailand — called for a change to the legislation and "open dialogue" about possible mitigation measures, in particular to help small and medium-sized companies.

The EUDR, which entered into force in late June, establishes specific criteria about traceability, certification and customs procedures for products that enter the EU internal market to bar imports of products that lead to deforestation or forest degradation.

Operators and traders have 18 months to adapt to the EUDR rules, with a longer adaptation period for micro and small enterprises. [...]

For Bernd Lange (S&D, Germany), chair of the parliamentary International Trade Committee, the law "sends a clear message to the world that we are ready to take responsibility and actively work on solutions."

"All of this can only happen in true partnership. Pointing fingers and lecturing will not help at all and is not the European approach."

"In (the) legislation itself, there is an emphasis on acting together. For example, we have established a task force with Indonesia for the joint implementation of legislation, and we have discussed joint implementation and certifications in Brazil, where we have also set up a global gateway project for traceability," Lange added. [...]

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