Soya beans from the United States meet the technical requirements to be used in biofuels in the European Union, and has formally recognised the scheme until 1 July 2021, according to the European Commission.

In a January 29 press release, the Commission explained: “Today’s decision is part of the implementation of the Joint Statement agreed between Presidents Juncker and Trump in July 2018. In the Joint Statement, the two sides agreed to increase trade in several areas and products, notably soya beans. Renewable energy is the future of Europe, and it is important that any biofuels put in the market respect the high sustainability standards we want for our renewables. By submitting the request for recognition, the U.S. has shown that it is ready to play by the rules.”

According to Brussels, the US is Europe’s main soya beans supplier and today’s decision will further expand its market opportunities in Europe. In the EU, biofuels must fulfil a set of sustainability criteria, contained in the Renewable Energy Directive, in order to be eligible for public support or to count towards the EU’s renewable energy targets.

The Commission’s recognition can be extended beyond 2021 if the scheme puts in place the changes regarding the sustainability criteria in line with the requirements of the new revised Renewable Energy Directive, adopted last year for the period 2021-2030. The US Authorities are required to notify to the Commission all changes it aims to apply to the certification procedures and the Commission may repeal its Decision if the scheme is not correctly implemented, if it fails to submit annual reports or if it does not introduce improvements that may be set out in the future.

Imports of US soya beans by the European Union increased by 112% over the current market year (July-December 2018), compared to the same period in the previous year. With a share of 75% of EU soya beans imports, the U.S. remains Europe’s number one supplier.