Malaysia disappointed over EU resolution targeting palm oil

Malaysia is disappointed with the European Parliament which has adopted a resolution that only environmentally sustainable palm oil can be imported into the European Union after 2020.
Describing the resolution as unfair, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the European Union resolution called for a single certified sustainable palm oil scheme for Europe-bound palm oil exports to make sure that the oil was produced using environmentally sustainable methods and prevented deforestation.
The resolution said the current certification scheme was flawed, did not meet internationally accepted standards on sustainability and that the EU was therefore phasing out palm oil from EU’s biofuel programme.
“Only palm oil is subjected to certification while similarly produced vegetables oils are not subject to sustainability certification... this is not fair,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya on Wednesday
In Malaysia’s case, he said, the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Scheme, implemented since 2015, would be made mandatory by December 2019 but the resolution did not recognise nationally mandated certification scheme of palm oil producing countries.
Mah said since EU was the second largest export destination for palm oil and palm oil-based products from Malaysia, after India, the resolution would have a negative impact on palm oil exports to other major importing countries.
He is expected to meet his Indonesian counterpart next week to address the issue before both countries meet with EU parliamentarians next month.
“This will give us a chance to convince and address the lawmakers and commissioners as to why we think this resolution is not fair to the palm oil industry,” he added.
Mah also said his ministry would work with the International Trade and Industry Ministry to determine if the resolution was against the World Trade Organisation as it only targeted palm oil.
Meanwhile, Mah said he would visit India in the next three months to follow up on the four memoranda of understandings (MOUs) related to palm oil which were signed during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent visit to that country. 
“India is the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils, with total import valued at US$10bil last year.
“Palm oil’s market share in India stood at 59% compared with other soft oils. We must tap this potential,” he added. 
Mah said Malaysia’s palm oil industry started off the year on a positive note with exports in the first two months of this year up 41.9% at RM12.9bil from the same period last year.
Exports of palm oil and palm oil-based products to China, in January and February 2017, was also up by an astonishing 96.4% to RM1.52bil compared with the same period last year. 

Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult