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AMIS Market Monitor

last release: Sep 2017

Policy Developments

BIOFUELS

  • On 23 August, Brazil's Chamber of Commerce approved a 20 percent tariff on ethanol imports, to be charged above an annual duty-free tariff quota of 600 million litres. The tariff level will be re-evaluated after two years. 
  • In the wake of WTO's dispute settlement proceedings concerning EU's application of anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports, on 19 July the European Commission lowered anti-dumping tariffs applied on biodiesel from Argentina by up to 10.6 percent and by up to 6.9 percent on imports from Indonesia. Since 2013, the EU had assessed anti-dumping tariffs of up to 25.7 percent on Argentina's and up to 20.5 percent on Indonesia's imports.
  • On 29 June, the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee issued an opinion on the European Strategy for Low Emission Mobility (2016/2327(INI)), showing support for keeping crop-based biofuels in the EU transport energy mix.
  • On 6 July, citing concerns over deforestation in the countries of origin, the Ministry of Environment in France announced that it was considering steps to reduce the use of palm oil in biofuel production. 
  • On 10 August, the Indian Oil Ministry indicated that it intends to promote biofuels as part of efforts to cut imports of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. India's carbon footprint may also be lowered by raising the use of natural gas in the energy mix to 15 percent in the next three to four years, up from 6.5 percent currently.
  • On 5 July, the US Environment Protection Agency proposed to reduce the renewable fuel volume requirements from 2017 levels for calendar year 2018 as follows: cellulosic biofuels: from 311 to 238 million gallons; advanced biofuels: from 4.28 to 4.24 billion gallons; and total renewable fuels: from 19.28 to 19.24 billion gallons. The 2018 target for conventional ethanol, which is mostly produced from maize, was kept at 15 billion gallons. The Agency also proposed maintaining the biomass-based diesel volume standard unchanged at 2.1 billion gallons for calendar year 2019. Comments were received up to 31 August and public hearings are ongoing.
  • Following a petition by the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition in the US, the US Department of Commerce issued preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty investigations on biodiesel exports from Argentina and Indonesia on 22 August. The investigated companies were found to have received subsidies of 50.29 to 64.17 percent and 41.06 to 68.28 percent, respectively in Argentina and Indonesia. Final affirmative determinations by the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission are yet to be made, after which countervailing duty orders could be issued by the end of 2017.

ACROSS THE BOARD

  • On 20 July, China notified the WTO of draft standards on several maximum residue limits for pesticides in foods, including wheat, maize and soybeans. The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed standards is 18 September (notification SPS/N/CHN/1054).
  • On 11 July, the Ministries of Agriculture of China and Kazakhstan agreed to strengthen trade and cooperation in the area of agriculture, which include Kazakhstan's commitment to supply 200 000 tonnes of grain and 100 000 tonnes of oil crops to China; the construction of a grain terminal at the Kazakh-Chinese border; and enhanced investment, technology transfer and innovation in agriculture production, grain processing and food safety infrastructure.
  • Following adoption by EU member States on 11 July, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will enter into force on 1 September. The agreement comprises the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between EU and Ukraine, which has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2016. Beyond DCFTA trade concessions, the EU Council decided on 17 July to establish additional duty-free tariff quotas for several agricultural products from Ukraine, including: wheat 65 000 tonnes; maize 625 000 tonnes; barley 325 000 and oats 4 000 tonnes. These enhanced market access conditions will remain in place for 3 years. 
  • On 20 July, the European Commission launched a new Crops Market Observatory. The Observatory gathers experts and analysts from 14 farms, trading and processing industries that are active in the grains supply chain, and aims at mitigating the effects of market volatility through dissemination of market data and analysis, for the benefit of the cereal, oilseed and protein crop farming and trading communities.
  • On 20 July, the Ministry of Agriculture and Industry of Italy introduced a new labelling policy for durum wheat in pasta (Decree No. 17A05704) and rice (Decree No. 17A05698). The packaging and labelling must indicate where wheat and rice crops were grown and milled. In addition, the labels must also indicate where the rice was treated and packaged. The new requirements enter into force on 16 February 2018 (rice) and 17 February 2018 (durum wheat) for a trial period until 30 September 2020.
  • As of the end of August 2017, the Consumer Affairs Agency in Japan requires country-of-origin labelling for all processed foods. Hence, retailers are mandatorily required to provide country-of-origin labelling for the main ingredient used in any processed product, by weight. Where the main ingredient is imported from multiple sources, the countries of origin must be ranked in descending order, by weight.
  • In the wake of the recent tropical floods that affected 700 000 ha of land, Thailand approved a relief package worth THB 1.6 billion (USD 48 million) that could potentially benefit more than 560 000 rural households.
  • On 2 August, Turkey's Biosafety Board approved 3 soybean and 1 maize genetically-modified varieties and their products, for feed use.