White House urges delay of EUDR

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Richard Drury
© GettyImages/Richard Drury

Related tags EUDR Biden deforestation due diligence

The Biden administration has urged the EU to delay the implementation of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) until its "substantial challenges" are addressed.

As first reported by the Financial Times, a letter dated May 30 and sent to the EU Commission from US trade representative, Katherine Tai, US commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, and US agriculture secretary, Thomas Vilsack, calls for the postponement of the EUDR as US exporters are struggling to be ready on time​.

This request follows a letter​ to Tai from 50 US senators in March this year demanding that the USTR address the potential impact of the EU deforestation law on US paper and pulp producers.

The EUDR aims to prevent global deforestation linked to agricultural products imported into the EU. From December this year, companies will have to demonstrate with due diligence and traceability to plot that their imports of soy, palm oil, and other commodities have not caused deforestation. Firms face substantial penalties for non-compliance.

A briefing by the EU Commission yesterday confirmed receipt of the letter from the Biden administration officials.

“We will reply in due course,” commented Adalbert Jahnz, Commission spokesperson for environment, maritime affairs, and transport.

The EU executive is working in close collaboration with all stakeholders to prepare the law’s entry into effect, he said.

“We keep the situation under constant review and we're working hard to ensure that all the conditions are met for smooth implementation of the law,” added Jahnz.

Technical challenges 

Challenges with EUDR implementation have been top of mind for many feed industry stakeholders since the law entered into force in June 2023.

Pedro Cordero, FEFAC President, warned in his address to kickstart the FEFAC annual public meeting ​on May 31 that European feed companies have yet to receive soybean meal offers for January 2025. These offers would typically already be in place; their absence indicates significant supply chain disruption stemming from growing market uncertainty linked to EUDR implementation.

“We hope common sense will prevail and solutions can be found,” the FEFAC lead told delegates.

Questions remain about the technical aspects of the deforestation law and about whether the Commission’s timeline aligns with business needs, according to the feed sector.

FEFAC and other EU trade groups such as FEDIOL have been highlighting issues with the regulation's information system. This register is intended to facilitate the submission and processing of due diligence statements for stakeholders, ensuring a smooth transition at the end of 2024 when the EUDR takes effect. However, the system is currently not on track to meet the requirements of properly functioning supply chains, according to the industry bodies. 

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