Malaysia urges France to reject EU resolution that discriminates palm oil


Malaysia urges France to reject the discriminatory EU Resolution: Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforest and accept the government-driven Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Scheme.

"The resolution and France Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot's support for that discriminatory policy can be considered a non-tariff barrier to Malaysia’s palm oil exports to the European Union (EU)," said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

Following France Ambassador to Malaysia Frédéric Laplanche courtesy visit to Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry this morning, Mah voiced out his concern on the discriminatory EU Resolution.

"I have conveyed my message to Laplanche and urged France not to follow the discriminatory EU Resolution or Norway's unfair move to exclude palm biodiesel from the EU Renewable Energy Directives," Mah said, in a statement today.

"The MSPO certification scheme is key to the Amsterdam Declaration that requires all palm oil shipped into Europe to be certified as sustainably-produced, by 2020," said Mah.

The MSPO is essentially a reflection of a unified code of laws concerning best practices throughout the supply chain, from oil palm planting to palm oil processing.

When one is MSPO-certified, Mah said, it confirms oil palm cultivation is being carried out on a balanced needs of People, Profits and Planet.

Three months ago, France Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced his country will close a window which offered the possibility of using palm oil in biofuels.

Hulot reportedly said France wants to stop "imported deforestation" and blamed unsustainable production of soybean and palm oil for impeding development in Latin America and Asia.

Hulot's defamatory view of palm oil reflects that of Avril Group, Europe's largest biodiesel producer. Avril Group uses French rapeseed as its main feedstock for biodiesel.

Avril chief executive Jean-Philippe Puig had reportedly said his company supports all initiatives banning the usage of palm oil in biodiesel.

Mah then highlighted the France National Assembly had rejected the discriminatory ‘Nutella Tax’ Bill last year, for a second time, following a similar one in 2015.

"Malaysia lauds France's move to reject such discriminatory policy against palm oil. It is in France's interest to uphold equal opportunities for the global trade of vegetable oils," Mah said.

"We hope the long term trade prospects between France and Malaysia would prevail over protectionists measures," he added.

At that time, the discriminatory Nutella Tax bill had proposed to increase import tax of an extra €300 per tonne on palm oil, on false allegations that palm oil production contributes towards deforestation and global warming.

Mah went on to say a delegation led by six Malaysian Members of Parliament flew to Brussels last week to engage with Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Directorale-Generals under the European Comission and green non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the EU's usage of palm oil.

"We urge the EU to accept the government-driven MSPO. The MSPO is the answer to the Amsterdam Declaration that requires all palm oil shipped into Europe to be certified as sustainably produced, by 2020," Mah said.


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