Future EU Bio-Based Economy Must Be More Market Driven

27.05.2011 -

Lowering trade barriers for renewable raw materials would be a first step for Europe to reach its EU2020 goals, concludes a policy paper released today by Cefic - the European Chemical Industry Council. The Cefic paper, published during EU Green Week, notes that removal of import duties for renewable raw materials forms the heart of a much-needed market-based policy approach.

"The permanent removal of import duties on renewables such as sugars, cereals, and bio-ethanol would give a clear signal to the market that would attract more bio-based investment in Europe," said Cefic Director General Hubert Mandery. "This would be the major step to attract investments in the bio-based industry in Europe."

Bio-Economy and Farm Policy

In addition to lowering tariffs, longer term overreliance on bio-materials from outside the European Union should be avoided, Cefic notes. A solution it proposes is for EU farm policies to be adapted in ways that promote the production of renewable raw materials for all industrial uses without disrupting food supply. Sugar produced from beets, for example, can be used for food and bio-ethanol but also as a raw material for fermentation when producing products such as bioplastics.

Tax Policy: Remove Distortion

Cefic argues for a non-discriminatory approach for the different uses of renewable raw materials. Tax policy should not create any distortion or conflicts of interests between value chains, as it presently does, keeping back use of renewable feedstock in the chemical industry.

Innovation and A Bio-Based Future

Cefic also argues that there is a need for political will to support and develop the technology base in Europe including support for demonstration projects. Demonstration projects involving all actors of the value chain are essential for innovation.