The US is asking the EU to postpone the implementation of its new deforestation law, due to come into effect at the end of this year.

Members of the US Department of Agriculture, the US Trade Representative office and Department of Commerce have written to the European Commission to call for a delay, the USDA confirmed.

In a statement sent to Just Food, a USDA spokesperson said the government was “concerned” about “how the regulation will be implemented and the impact it may have on US producers that engage in sustainable production practices”.

It added: “We look forward to continuing to work with the European Union to address issues and concerns with the EUDR [Regulation on Deforestation Free Products] such that the regulation can most effectively address global deforestation, without creating unjustifiable economic effects on both producers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Reports from Reuters suggest the country is particularly worried about how the ban could impact the trade of cocoa products.

According to the publication, the US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, and trade envoy Katherine Tai, said the incoming law would bring “critical challenges” for US food producers.

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They added that the Commission should consider delaying “the implementation of this regulation and subsequent enforcement of penalties until these substantial challenges have been addressed”.

Due to come into play on 30 December, the incoming legislation will ban the export of products with connections to deforestation, such as meat, cocoa beans, soya beans and palm oil.

The sale of these products will only be allowed in the EU if the supplier has issued a statement of due diligence that states the ingredients have not been sourced from degraded land or contributed to deforestation since December 2020.

Earlier in April, the EU climate transition minister, Alain Maron, stressed that approval of the legislation by EU members was “not far from a qualified majority”.

His comments were made amid media reports that member nations such as Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Poland and Slovenia were calling on Brussels to revise the law.