Malaysia, Indonesia pressure EU over proposed palm oil ban

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR

Malaysia and Indonesia continue to exert pressure on European Union (EU) leaders on the proposed palm oil ban, saying that the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II (Delegated Act) is politically and economically driven than scientific-based.

The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) alleged that the Delegated Act is a political compromise within the EU, and aimed at isolating and excluding palm oil from its mandated renewable energy sector to the benefit of EU’s rapeseed oil and other less competitive imported vegetable oils.

“CPOPC views this as a calculated and adverse economic and political strategy to remove palm oil from the EU marketplace,” CPOPC said in a statement yesterday.

“The intention of this proposed Delegated Act is to restrict and effectively ban altogether palm oil biofuel in the EU through the use of a scientifically flawed concept of ILUC (Indirect Land Use Change).

“The unsubstantiated criteria used in the Delegated Act, while deliberately focusing on palm oil and deforestation, makes no attempt to include broader environmental concerns associated with the cultivation of other vegetable oils including rapeseed,” it added.

The council comprising two largest palm oil producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, was in a joint mission in Brussels, Belgium, to convince European leaders to pave the way for an acceptable solution over the vegetable oil ban in Europe.

CPOPC said the mission from April 8 to 9, 2019, was part of the agreement by its members to address discriminatory measures arising from the Delegated Act with the EU authorities.

The European Commission plans to table the Delegated Act by next month, proposing palm oil to be phased out in renewable transport fuel by 2030.

CPOPC was co-led by the Indonesia’s Economic Affairs Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution, while Putrajaya was represented by Ministry of Primary Industries secretary-general Datuk Dr Tan Yew Chong.

CPOPC added that the Delegated Act is viewed as a unilateral instrument directed against palm oil producers, thereby hindering their achievement of poverty alleviation and other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said she will be visiting key European countries next month as the last resort to sway the EU from tabling the resolution which is slated by mid-May.