Mah warns of tit for tat over EU's palm oil threat

09.01.2018

Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are ready to join forces and retaliate over the European Union's (EU) threat to exclude palm oil from its biofuel mix and renewable energy by 2021, which is a discriminatory act and amounts to an attack on the palm oil industry.

Such action will affect oil palm smallholders more than anyone else, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, reiterating a major concern to palm oil producing countries.

"While we hope that it would never come to that (palm oil ban), but if it's actually done, if our (palm oil) product is discriminated, we can also institute the same (to the EU), because if you are unfair to our product, just remember that Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are also purchasers of your products.

"Negotiations and discussions are on-going to ensure it doesn't come to that," he told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Reach and Remind Friends of the Industry Seminar 2018 & Dialogue here, today.

He said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry is currently negotiating a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the EU and Palm Oil remains on top of the agenda.

Mah was responding to EU Parliament's resolution on the new renewable energy directive that sought to introduce a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market and phase out the use of palm oil-based biodiesel by 2021 on April 4, 2017.

This was followed by endorsements by the EU Parliament's Environmental Committee on Oct 23, 2017, and Industry, Research & Energy Committee on Nov 28, 2017.

The minister said the government is not leaving any stone unturned.

"Palm oil is not only about big plantations or estates, but we are talking about small farmers who depend on oil palm for their livelihood. We are doing the best that we can in terms of environmental control and quality. So don't penalise when we are making so much effort," he said.

Malaysia has about 650,000 smallholders.


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