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Biodiesel imports into the European Union (EU) are forecast to increase by about 14% this year mainly due to rising shipments from China, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to Trade Data Monitor (TDM) quoted in the 14 August Biofuels Annual Country: European Union report, China’s exports of biodiesel to the EU increased by 86% from January-April 2023, with the highest increases going to the Netherlands, Spain, Malta, Bulgaria and Germany.

“However, in the EU there is growing concern over potential fraud associated with imports from China as the country does not allow witness audits of their sustainability certification. As a result, some importers may shy away from importing from China if discussions continue and NGOs pick up the topic,” the USDA said.

“In contrast, imports from Argentina are forecast to decline in 2023, as the minimum import price is too high to be able to compete with Chinese product.”

As biodiesel exports to countries outside the EU remained marginal – amounting to less than 5% of production on average – the USDA said it did not cover this aspect of the sector in the report.

In 2022, the leading suppliers of biodiesel to the EU were Argentina, China, the UK, Malaysia, South Korea, and Indonesia, accounting for 36%, 22%, 14%, 12%, 4.98% and 4.79% of EU biodiesel imports respectively, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report said.

“Imports from China increased by 61% in 2022 compared to the previous year at the expense of shipments from Argentina and Malaysia,” the USDA said.