Indonesia calls EU’s ruling on palm oil ‘discriminatory’


Jakarta has denounced the European Parliament’s recent ruling on palm oil and deforestration that it considers to be damaging to the country’s biofuel exports.

The Foreign Ministry said the European Parliament's Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests, which was passed in Strasbourg on April 4, was a discriminatory act as it contradicts the European Union’s position of being a champion of open, free and fair trade.

“The European Parliament's resolution was based on inaccurate and unaccountable data on development related to palm oil and forestry management in palm oil producing countries, including Indonesia,” the ministry said in a statement.

It argued that oil palm plantations did not make a significant impact on global deforestration, citing studies by the European Commission in 2013 that said from a total of 239 ha of land which underwent deforestation globally in a 20 year period, 58 million ha was for livestock grazing, 13 million ha for soy cultivation and 6 million ha for palm oil production, meaning palm oil only contributed to 2.5 percent of the total deforestation.

Indonesia is now the world’s largest palm oil producer supplying more than 26 million tons of palm oil-based products to global markets annually. The EU has been one of the largest importers, taking up to 15 percent of Indonesian exports.

The palm oil industry has also been subject to criticism for its irresponsible business practices, having been embroiled in land conflicts with residents and causing deforestation and haze.


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