The Customs Laboratories’ Role in Monitoring the Development of the European Bioeconomy

From July 1 to 4, two of BioMonitor's partners presented to Customs laboratories representatives the project and their role in it at the 7th Seminar of European Customs Chemists in Hungary.

News Post - 10 Jul 2019

The BioMonitor project partners ECN part of TNO and the Dutch standardization institute NEN presented the project at the 7th Seminar of European Customs Chemists (July 1-4 2019, Hungary). An important part of the BioMonitor project is to collect better data to effectively assess the status and development of the bioeconomy using predictive economic models. In this task, Customs laboratories and industry laboratories play a vital role in gathering such data as they can provide those related to production and trade of bio-based products.


For this purpose, ECN part of TNO and NEN will organize training sessions for Customs laboratories on the application of the recently introduced European standard for bio-based products (EN 16640).


André van Zomeren (ECN-TNO) talking about the customs offices’ role in the BioMonitor project


At the seminar, they indicated the opportunities and difficulties Customs laboratories may have on collecting data that monitor the bio-based economy. Given their equipment and expertise, Customs laboratories will have an opportunity to measure the bio-based content in products once new CN codes that claim of a certain percentage of bio-based carbon will be introduced. However, collection of a statistically sound data set seems impossible to achieve since the main role of Customs laboratories is to check goods in cases something seems out of place. This implies that the collected data is a biased subset with suspicious goods and, hence, the approach may fail to represent the whole population of bio-based products. The statistical bureaus will most probably need to do additional work to extrapolate the measured data to a value that is valid for the whole population.


Lastly, the project team is looking for Customs laboratories that can host training sessions. The first training will be held next year at the Dutch Customs laboratory in Amsterdam.


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