Trade Regulations

US looks into restricting imports of products from deforested areas

Mar, 09, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202313

The United States is looking into using commercial measures to solve climate problems, following the example of the European Union, which banned imports of products from deforested areas. This possibility was acknowledged on March 8 by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Tai stated the matter was discussed in general with Brazilian officials during the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira on Tuesday and Vice President and Minister of Development, Industry, Commerce, and Services, Geraldo Alckmin. The discussion, on the other hand, centered on finding ways to prevent global warming from worsening.

“The topic was brought up in the context of exploring how we can use commercial measures to promote sustainability goals. We are deeply interested in further discussing incentives and penalties,” said Tai.

Adopting a careful stance, she claimed to be unsure whether the US Congress would approve the measure. However, she mentioned that some projects with this goal had already been presented.

“There were one or more bills in Congress, and I’m not sure they were re-introduced [in the new legislature that started in January]. “The Europeans have introduced very similar legislation, which has already been passed and may be on the way,” said the head of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR.

Tai emphasized that the idea is for Brazil and the United States to collaborate to find solutions to the climate crisis. One of them is the elimination of deforestation in the Amazon.

For members of the Brazilian government, European law is stringent and is not restricted to illegally deforested areas in the Amazon. The new norm may affect the trade of beef, soybeans, and coffee.

According to two interlocutors who met with US Special Envoy for Climate Change, John Kerry, last week, the Americans are looking into this possibility, though with significant gains in flexibility compared to its European counterpart.

According to Márcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a project similar to the European one, called the Forest Act, is already being debated in the American Congress. It will take some time to be approved, but the goal is to avoid imports of products linked to deforestation.

“It remains to be seen whether the law will pertain to illegal deforestation or any kind of deforestation, as is the case of the EU law,” said Astrini.

The US trade representative said there is an “exceptional” alignment between her country’s government and Brazil. That, she said, became clear during the meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Washington last February 10.

Source: O Globo

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