EU Will Not Delay Deforestation Law, Environment Chief Says on Ivory Coast Visit

The European Union (EU) is not planning to delay a new law to combat the import of commodities linked to deforestation, despite some governments urging Brussels to postpone the rules. The new EU law, set to come into force at the end of 2024, will require companies to prove their goods were not grown on deforested land. Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Environment Commissioner, stated that the Commission is working to ensure legislation is operational from the beginning of 2025. Some 20 out of the EU’s 27 member countries asked Brussels in March to delay the anti-deforestation law and exempt producers in countries deemed to have a low risk of deforestation. They argued that the current policy would harm European farmers, who have been protesting over complaints including excessive EU regulations. Sinkevicius said the Commission would respond to EU countries’ concerns, but the deforestation policy was agreed in late 2022 and producers and governments had nearly two years to prepare for its launch. For producer countries outside the EU, including Ivory Coast and Ghana, smooth access to the main market is at stake. Sinkevicius said the EU would not fully cover the costs of bringing production systems into compliance, but they will be shared by the operators who are importing into the EU and partly by the EU budget.

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