EU agrees to ban imports of products driving deforestation

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The EU reached an agreement Tuesday to ban the import of several products considered the “main drivers of deforestation,” including coffee, cocoa and soy, the European Commission said.

“The new law will ensure that a set of key goods placed on the [European Union] market will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world,” said the commission, praising the decision that the bloc’s member states and the EU Parliament reached overnight.

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“When the new rules enter into force, all relevant companies will have to conduct strict due diligence if they place on the EU market.”

The list of products banned – which includes palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber – have been identified as a “driver of deforestation” if they came from deforested land after December 2020.

Importing companies will have to show that their products are deforestation-free, and subject to proving “precise geographical information on farmland” where the commodities were sourced.

“This is a first in the world!” said Pascal Canfin, the chairman of the European Parliament’s environment committee, in a press release.

“It’s the coffee we have for breakfast, the chocolate we eat, the coal in our barbecues, the paper in our books. This is radical,” he said.

The text had been proposed in November 2021 by the European Commission. The EU will now have to formally adopt the regulation before it can enter into force, and traders will have 18 months to implement the rules.

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