Press Release

PR | Export of toxic motor fuels from Belgium to Africa now prohibited

On the initiative of Minister of Environment Zakia Khattabi, in collaboration with Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten and Minister of Public Health Frank Vandenbroucke, a royal decree has been signed that bans the export of toxic motor fuels, similar to the measure in the Netherlands. This ban targets oil companies that, primarily from the port of Antwerp, export motor fuels with excessively high sulfur or benzene content worldwide. These are fuels that have long been banned in Europe due to their harmful effects on public health and the environment.

Minister Khattabi stated: "For far too long, toxic fuels have been departing from Belgium to destinations including Africa. They cause extremely poor air quality in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon and are even carcinogenic. Oil producers and traders export gasoline with excessively high levels of benzene and sulfur. There is a risk that the trade has shifted to Belgium because the Netherlands already restricted the export of these dirty fuels. That is why I have decided to take action in collaboration with the Ministers of Energy and Minister of Public Health."

A Royal Decree will be published soon, signed by the three ministers. It is based on the federal authority of product standardization and imposes the same quality standards on motor fuels for export as those for the European market. The new regulation will take effect three months after the publication of the Royal Decree. The responsible ministers received a positive opinion from the Council of State. The Minister of Environment is working on the Royal Decree in collaboration with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Public Health.

Minister Tinne Van der Straeten said: “By joining our forces and powers, we can put an end to the export of toxic and carcinogenic fuels to third countries. It should be obvious that the standards we apply at home to protect the environment and citizens should also apply to exported products. Since the oil companies concerned will not take this responsibility on their own, we call on the administration to introduce controls on exported fuels."

Minister Frank Vandenbroucke concluded: "It is remarkable that producers export unhealthy motor fuels that we do not allow in this country. With this royal decree, we now ensure that products that are not allowed in Europe due to their harmfulness are also prohibited for export. This way, we protect the health of people worldwide."