Policy Developments - Biofuels

last release: June 2021


  • On 28 May, a WTO panel on the European Union measures on palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels was established to review measures adopted by the EU as well as certain EU member States, which allegedly confer unfair benefits to EU domestic producers of certain biofuel feedstocks, such as rapeseed, sunflower, and soybeans, and to the biofuels produced therefrom. (WT/DS600/6).

Across the board

  • On 10 May, Brazil notified the WTO of the adoption of new technical regulations for the purpose of harmonization and trade facilitation within MERCOSUR countries. The regulations cover the registration of oilseed, grain and seed varieties in the Plant Variety Protection Registry and in the National Plant Variety Registry and establish the criteria for the approval of each variety denomination (G/TBT/N/BRA/1173).
  • On 7 May, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency notified the WTO of the implementation of new safety requirements for selected feed ingredients imported from countries identified as being high risk for African Swine Fever. To mitigate the risk of contamination, the identified products will be subject to import permit requirements and, as the case may be, certification of origin and proof of heat treatment and/or hold times (G/SPS/N/CAN/1244/Add.12).
  • On 25 May, China's National Development and Reform Commission launched an Action Plan to reform commodity price review and control mechanisms. The Plan aims at curbing abnormal price fluctuations and ensure price stabilization. The minimum purchase and target price policies for rice, wheat and maize will be maintained and improved.
  • On 7 May, the European Union notified the WTO of the adoption of MRLs for acequinocyl, cycloxydim, diclofop, fluopyram, ipconazole and terbuthylazine, which are used on wheat, maize and rice (G/SPS/N/EU/397/Rev.1); as well as MRLs for chlordecone, which is used on wheat, maize, rice and soybeans, and are expected to enter into force on 13 November (EU/398/Rev.1/Add.1).
  • On 18 May, India extended the deadline for wheat procurement by 15 days so that a maximum number of national farmers can benefit from the minimum support price. The new deadline is set on 15 June 2021.
  • On 19 May, India increased its subsidy for di-ammonium phosphate by 140 percent: from INR 500 (USD 6.8) to INR 1 200 (USD 16.4) per bag.

Trade Junctures and Logistics

  • On 19 May, Argentina's tugboat captains and other port workers went on strike to protest the lack of COVID-19 vaccinations for port workers. The strike took place at the port of Rosario, from where around 80 percent of Argentina‚Äôs agricultural commodities are shipped. The strike ended after 48 hours, but due to low water levels in the Parana River, six of the seven stranded grain ships were not able to leave ports.
  • On 11 May, Egypt's Suez Canal Authority announced plans to expand and deepen the southern passage of the canal following the March blockage caused by a large container ship.
  • On 11 May, a COVID-19 surge in India has led to multiple seaports closing to shipments to and from the country. In addition, lockdown measures resulted in labour shortages in port operations, leading to delays in the movement of goods within the country.
  • On 13 May, all traffic on the Mississippi River in the US was stopped due to a crack in a bridge. The Mississippi River is the biggest route for US agricultural exports, including grain and soybeans.