Mah wants EU to recognise MSPO


Malaysia has concluded the second round of talks with European representatives to push for the acceptance of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

The Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (picture) held a closed-door meeting with 18 European ambassadors led by the European Union (EU) ambassador and head of diplomatic delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez.

The talks centred on EU parliamentary resolution to link palm oil and deforestation, a contentious matter which the EU had used to form their arguments against the commodity.

The EU is Malaysia’s largest market for palm oil and palmbased products, with exports valued at RM7.5 billion for the first eight months of this year. The figure is 19% higher compared to RM6.3 billion recorded during the same period last year.

During the discussion, the European representatives were urged to highlight Malaysia’s mandatory certified sustainable palm oil production by the end of 2019 to their EU counterparts.

Under the MSPO certification, the government will ensure all stakeholders adhere to the scheme, including the 650,000 independent smallholders.

These smallholders account for 40% of the country’s total cultivated oil palm area.

Malaysia wants the MSPO to be an accepted certification in Europe.

Mah also objected the European Environmental Committee’s (EEC) recommendation to exclude palm oil use from the Renewable Energy Directive from 2021 onwards, claiming the recommendation “as discriminatory, unacceptable and non-compliant with the World Trade Organisation principles”.

He said this is unfair as other oils and fats could be used for biofuels for the purpose.

Fernandez said the EU resolution to link palm oil and deforestation is currently being drafted by the relevant parties before it can be accepted and endorsed as a legislature.

Besides the European Commission and the European Council, EU officials are also consulting with palm oil producing countries.

Fernandez is keen on exploring greater European collaboration with Malaysia to utilise untapped opportunities through palm biomass.

Mah had invited European technology providers to convert palm biomass into value-added products, as Malaysia’s palm oil industry currently produces over 100 million tonnes of not optimally-used biomass annually.