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Article: Food & Ag Briefing 28 July

28 July 2020

Airbus announced last week that it had reached agreement with the French and Spanish governments to amend arrangements deemed by the WTO to be an unfair subsidy relative to the Airbus A350 airplane.

"After 16 years of litigation at the World Trade Organization, this is the final step to stop the longstanding dispute and removes any justification for US tariffs," Airbus said in a statement.

The "launch aid" arrangement was a loan linked to exports that helped Airbus develop new models with low interest rates on the loan.

Burger King scored a win in a lawsuit against vegan consumers who alleged the company deceived them to believe that Burger King's meatless Impossible Whoppers would be cooked on a different grill than the fast-food chain's meat-based patties.

A federal judge in Florida dismissed the consumers' complaint on Monday (July 20), ruling that the plaintiffs could not show that a reasonable consumer would be misled to pay a higher price for the product only because of the way it was cooked.

A California appeals court on Monday (July 20) upheld a state jury verdict that found Bayer-owned Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the potential cancer risks from its Roundup weedkiller.

The ruling was a clear blow for Bayer but the court did hand the company a win by rejecting plaintiff Dewayne "Lee" Johnson's request to reinstate the original $289 million verdict, instead reducing the damages from $78 million to $20.4 million.

Also on Monday (July 20), the Malaysian Government released a statement saying that it was "adamant and steadfast" in taking legal action this year against the EU at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over its planned restrictions on palm oil-based biofuels.

In March last year, the European Commission concluded in a delegated act to the updated Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and biofuels based on the vegetable oil should therefore not be counted towards the EU's renewable energy targets.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in an opinion last week that France's decision to ban five neonicotinoid insecticides in 2018 could be considered as lawful, provided a French court decides that the country's notification procedures were correct.

ECJ advocate general Juliane Kokott's opinion was in response to a request from France's highest court, the Conseil d'État, for a preliminary ruling. The case was brought by the French agrochemical industry association, the UIPP, against the national ban.

The European Commission said on Thursday (July 23rd) that special inspection arrangements that member states introduced to cope with COVID-19 can continue until October 1 under the latest European Commission implementing regulation, despite not complying with the EU's 2017 official controls regulation (2017/625).

A waiver to the official controls regulation allowing member states to apply the special arrangements under an earlier implementing regulation from April (2020/466) was due to expire on August 1, but with the pandemic still ongoing, its application has been extended to October 1.

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