Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C., law firm providing biobased and renewable chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in bringing innovative products to market.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 3, 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and National Health Commission (NHC) jointly issued a final Technical Framework Guideline for Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances (Trial). This Trial Guideline provides a basic framework, including evaluation steps, technical requirements, and report preparation, for the environmental risk assessment of a single chemical substance under standard production and uses. The Trial Guideline does not apply to mixtures or exposures due to accidents or leakages. The “four-step” evaluation includes hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. It also outlines uncertainty analysis, data quality assessment, spatial scale of exposure assessment, risk assessment of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemical substances, and consideration for risk assessment of metals and their compounds. For further details, see The ACTA Group’s commentary here.


 

On February 7, 2017, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the U.S. Grains Council sent a joint letter to President Donald Trump to request the Administration’s assistance in addressing China’s recent implementation of protectionist trade barriers, which are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains.  The letter states that China’s actions have significantly injured U.S. ethanol producers and farmers, and undermined the substantial investments made to develop a cooperative and mutually beneficial trade relationship with the country.  In 2015, China imported 6.5 million metric tons of U.S. distillers dried grains, and began importing U.S. ethanol as part of an effort to increase the use of cleaner-burning renewable fuels and reduce smog formation.  By the end of 2016, China had become the U.S. ethanol industry’s third-largest export market.  In September 2016, after a nine month investigation regarding alleged dumping and injury to domestic industries, China imposed a preliminary antidumping duty of 33.8 percent against U.S. distillers dried grains, as well as a countervailing duty of ten to 10.7 percent -- despite the fact that the investigation did not find any evidence of dumping or injury to domestic industries.  The letter states the details of this investigation and the U.S. industries’ cooperation throughout the investigation, and requests that the incoming U.S. Trade Representative place the Chinese trade barriers near the top of the China trade agenda.


 

On December 5, 2016, China's National Energy Administration (NEA) published a five-year plan that aims to increase ethanol production to four million tons by 2020 despite the government maintaining strict control over the use of food grains.  The target remains unchanged from the previous five-year plan that ended in 2015.  NEA intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuel consumption from 12 percent to 15 percent by 2020, in part through the vigorous development of fiber ethanol from the inedible parts of plants.  The plan prioritizes the development of cassava and other non-grain ethanol sources over crops used for human consumption. NEA also aims to raise the country’s biomass energy capacity to 15 gigawatts by 2020.


 

On January 23, 2015, China's National Energy Administration issued a biodiesel industry development plan (available in Chinese) to improve the biodiesel sector. The plan encouraged the production of cleaner fuels as well as the use of renewable fuels by promoting foreign companies' participation in the industry; mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring of domestic biodiesel companies; and fuel blending of biodiesel. The plan will initially focus on the areas with the most air pollution controls, including Beijing-Tianjin Province and Hebei Province and the area around the Yangtze River Delta. New standards on the production of biodiesel should improve the environmental impact of biodiesel production as restrictions on the energy, freshwater, and waste disposal of the production go into effect within two years.

 

 

On October 22, 2014, Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) opened the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project, a demonstration facility that will turn used cooking oil into aviation biofuel at a rate of 170 gallons per day. This project will assess the feasibility of producing higher volumes of biofuel, as China has enough used cooking oil to make as much as 500 million gallons of biofuel annually. Working together since 2012, Boeing and COMAC support China's commercial aviation, and collaborate with Chinese universities and research institutions to further knowledge on aviation oil and other efficiency improvements. More information can be found in Boeing's press release about the Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project.


 

On November 18, 2013, Novozymes announced that it will "supply enzyme technology to the world's first biomass to glycols bio-refinery to be constructed by M&G Chemicals in China." The biorefinery is expected to begin operations in 2015. A copy of Novozymes' press release is available online.