Sweden not in favour of EU palm oil ban


Sweden is opposed to the resolution by the European Union (EU) to single out the usage of edible oil in renewable energy (RE).

Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt (picture) said since palm oil is required to be phased out before others, the EU’s proposal is perceived as a discrimination.

“Sweden and many other European countries who are member states of the EU are against any kind of discrimination.

That includes any regime that would be discriminating against other products,” he said at the announcement of the 2nd Sweden-South-East Asia Business Summit 2018 (SSEABS) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“The European Commission, which is an executive branch of the EU, has made a proposal to amend the European law on renewable energy that focuses on what should be the sustainable sources of RE.

“Unfortunately, it has been over-politicised, as well as sidetracked by the EU Parliament recently when they approved the draft measures,” he said.

According to Juhlin-Dannfelt, the proposal was constructed with genuine concern over the sustainability in energy production.

“In a world where starvation still exists, you don’t need to exhaust the food supply for energy purposes. There are other more sustainable alternative sources such as biomass. We need to become more sustainable,” he said.

On the future trades with Malaysia, Juhlin-Dannfelt said it will be the country’s prerogative to address the discrimination of Malaysian palm oil to the World Trade Organisation.

France Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Monday that palm oil plays a significant role to Malaysia’s economy, therefore France is not in favour of the resolution.

“I’m honoured to have met the Malaysian prime minister earlier this morning. We had a fruitful exchange on many issues. He also raised the issue of palm oil.

“I told him we understood the importance of this sector, in particular for rural development,” a local daily reported her as saying.

The proposal suggests that all edible oil should no longer be considered as a source of RE for sustainability purposes by 2025.

The EU Parliament recently, voted in favour of the amendment to the draft law, eliminating the contribution of palm oil in biofuels and bioliquids products by 2021.

Meanwhile, 100 delegations from Sweden are anticipated to attend the SSEABS — which will be held on Feb 6-7 in Kuala Lumpur — to address issues such as a sustainable business model, along with digitisation ideas.

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said Malaysia is banking on Swedish participation to increase the foreign direct investment inflow from the Scandinavian country.

CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud said Mida approved 126 manufacturing projects with Swedish participation as of September 2017, amounting to RM2.6 billion.

“Through notable Swedish companies such as the Volvo Group, Scania Group, SKF, Ikea and the like, Sweden has been one of Malaysia’s most significant source of foreign investments.

“Apart from improving Malaysia’s trades and foreign investments, we are al so seeking Sweden’s exper t ise in machinery equipment, advanced electronics, as well as research and development in high technology,” he said.