BIOPLASTICS
EU producers press for lower bioethanol duties / Competition from the Americas
Bioplastics producers based in the EU are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to compete with players in the Americas, due to the high duties they must pay for their ethanol feedstock. The topic has gained currency during the ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and the Mercosur bloc that represents South American producers. In a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European chemical producers have urged the EU to forego import duties on bioethanol used exclusively for applications in chemical intermediates.

The existing import duties of 60-40% for bioethanol produced in South America are making life difficult for EU players, said René van Sloten, executive director industrial policy at the association European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic, Brussels / Belgium; www.cefic.org). This compounds the already existing problems of having to compete with producers of conventional plastics in Europe who benefit from access to petrochemical feedstocks imported duty-free.

In Cefic’s view, investment in bio-based factories should be taking place in Europe, where the market is, but this is not happening, as producers are unable to source bioethanol at world market prices. EU prices for the feedstock are about 60% higher than in Brazil, where petrochemicals conglomerate Braskem (São Paulo; www.braskem.com.br) is a major producer, the association calculates.

According to the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC, Brussels; www.biconsortium.eu), the EU’s bio-industries including chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper, textile, biofuels and bioenergy employ 3.3m people and have annual turnover of EUR 674 bn. To promote investment in the bio-economy, the consortium recently published a guide with tips in particular on how to access EU financial instruments – see Plasteurope.com of 21.12.2017.
03.01.2018 Plasteurope.com [238709-0]
Published on 03.01.2018

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