6 MPs to defend palm oil-based biofuel against EU

by BERNAMA / Pic by ISMAIL CHE RUS

Six Malaysian lawmakers will visit Europe next month to counter the European Union’s (EU) proposed resolution to curb the use of palm oil-based biofuel by 2020.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture) said the September visit would come just after summer (in Europe) in order to leverage on the most number of EU lawmakers and officials.

“We are getting dates that are mutually agreeable to the most number of organisations and EU MPs.

“The purpose of our six MPs’ visit to Europe is to engage with them, answer their questions and clear their doubts…and to provide them with the full facts and figures on the palm oil industry,” he told a press conference after attending a luncheon organised by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

A resolution by the European Parliament recently called for the EU to phase out the use of palm oil-based biodiesel by 2020.

The European Parliament, on April 4, 2017, adopted a resolution on palm oil and deforestation of the rainforests that singled out oil palm cultivation as the main contributor to deforestation and consequently, global warming and climate change.

“In the EU resolution, 600 EU MPs voted against palm oil, while less than 20 were in favour.

“Many of them do not actually understand the whole situation,” said Mah, adding that the unfair resolution might affect the export of palm oil to Europe and other developed countries.

The six Malaysian MPs have been identified by Parliament and the names will be announced soon.

Mah pointed out that the EU is an important traditional market for Malaysian palm oil and its products, covering palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake, oleo-chemicals and finished products, as well as palm-based biodiesel.

Malaysia’s export of palm oil and palm-based products to the EU in 2016 stood at RM10.3 billion, up 6% from RM9.68 billion reported in 2015.

From January to June, Mah said Malaysia’s export of palm oil and palm-based products to the EU had significantly increased by 32% to RM5.57 billion compared to the same period last year.

Mah highlighted that the EU is the most important export destination for Malaysian palm oil-based biodiesel as 99% of the country’s palm oil-based biodiesel is exported to the EU.

He stressed that Malaysia is already committed to retaining at least 50% of its land area under forest cover, in line with the commitment made at the 1992 Rio Summit.

“Malaysia is fully committed to ensuring that palm oil produced in the country is sustainable and the commitment is affirmed by making the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil standard fully mandatory by Dec 31, 2019,” Mah added. — Bernama