MPOC: EU palm oil ban can still be overturned

By BERNAMA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

There is still time to overturn the European Union’s (EU) proposed plan to ban palm oil, said the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

Its chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor (picture) said with the plan still at the proposal stage and five years before it is finalised, there is still time to discuss the matter with the EU.

“A final decisions will only be made in 2021. Both the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have voiced their stand of not agreeing with the proposal and we still have time to change it,” he said after IOI Corp Bhd’s EGM yesterday.

Lee, who is also CEO of IOI Corp, said the decision will be a trading stand and with trade conducted in a mutual manner, Malaysia could possibly reciprocate if it is carried through.

The European Parliament’s recent non-binding resolution urged the bloc’s executive arm to step up efforts at preventing deforestation resulting from palm oil production.

The allegation is that the expansion of plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia has seen farmers using the illegal slash-and-burn method to clear land, thus destroying rainforests and habitats of animals, while causing a severe haze that blanketed parts of Asia.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the EU is Malaysia’s biggest export destination, accounting for about 13% of shipments of palm oil and palm-based products last year. Currently, Malaysia and Indonesia account for over 80% of the world’s palm oil production.

Lee said demand for palm oil is increasing at a rate of 30% to 40% annually, especially from developing countries.

Besides developing countries, Malaysian palm oil is also exported to Europe, the US, Japan and China for use in the production of biodiesel.