NL imports more soy, wood and cocoa than other EU countries

The Netherlands imported more goods which may have been produced via illegal forest clearance last year than any other EU country, thanks to Rotterdam port, according to new figures from national statistics agency CBS.

The Netherlands is Europe’s biggest importer of soy, palm oil and cocoa beans and the second biggest importer of timber and beef products – all sectors in which deforestation and land degradation are rampant.

Most, however, is re-exported to other countries, either via sea, road or rail while the rest is largely used in the domestic food industry, the CBS said.

New European rules which came into effect in June are supposed to make sure imports do not encourage deforestation and companies are banned from importing goods grown in areas where forests have been chopped down after December 2020.

Soy and wood from Brazil accounted for the bulk of the potentially problematic imports, followed by soy and wood from the US and cocoa beans from Ivory Coast.

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