Wednesday, September 18

Malaysia will intensify efforts, explain on palm oil to EU ministers, commissioners


Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will intensify its efforts to explain about the palm oil industry to the European ministers as well as the European Commissioners before the bloc made its final decision on banning the use of the commodity in biofuels starting 2021.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said before the ban would be legalised as a law, it needed to go through two layers of processes, namely approvals from the council of the European Union (EU) or council of ministers as well as the European Commissions.

“We will explain to them through our embassies in 16 European countries as well as engage with EU members’ offices here in Malaysia to ensure that all the facts, correct information on palm oil as well as our objections to the ban are communicated to them,” he told a press conference after opening the Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook (R&O) seminar here today.

He described the EU Parliament’s decision last night on banning the palm oil usage in biofuels as a “black day” for free-trade practice as it is discriminatory against palm oil.

The one-day seminar was conducted by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

“This is not about the sustainability issue, but more on discrimination against the palm oil, how can they blame palm oil for everything? This is not about deforestation and what nots, but more on protectionism policy towards European farmers.

“Fair share of treatment should be given to other vegetable oils used in the biofuel mix in Europe, such as grapeseed. Even so, the EU Parliament has always been anti-palm oil,” he said.

Despite the disappointing updates, Mah said Malaysia and the other palm oil producing countries will step up efforts to give clearer picture on oil palm plantation, as decline in votes for the ban by the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) yesterday proved that the ongoing efforts taken by the producing countries are showing some improvement.

In April 2017, 640 MEPs voted for the ban of palm oil usage in biofuels, however, during yesterday’s parliamentary meeting, the number of voters agreeing to the ban had reduced to 429 MEPs.

Mah also noted that one-third, or roughly 600,000 tonnes of two million tonnes of palm oil and palm oil products exported to the EU were used for biodiesel, and the EU imported 215,000 tonnes of biodiesel directly from Malaysia.

“The EU’s total demand for palm-oil based biodiesel stands at 2.8 million tonnes, whereby we supply 800,000 tonnes and the remaining two million tonnes are from Indonesia,” he added. – Bernama