Monday, January 24

‘Malaysia’s stand on renewable energy directive consistent’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has maintained that its stand on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is consistent and viewed European Parliament’s move to ban palm oil use in biofuels as an unacceptable trade barrier.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the ban violated the European Union’s (EU) commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He said Malaysia raised the issue at the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade and the Council of Trade in Goods meetings on March 20-22, together with Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

“The government will continue to protect 650,000 oil palm smallholders, and will not accept any form of discrimination from the EU that could affect our rural community,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The EU held its second trilogue in Brussels on Tuesday, with the objective of reaching a consensus on the realigning of the EU and on the proposal to ban palm oil-based biofuel by 2021.

The next trilogue will be held in in April and May this year.

Meanwhile, Mah said Malaysia and other palm oil producing countries were in accord and aware of the effect of the ban on their respective country if the EU were to impose the drastic trade barrier.

“The ban on palm oil would have a negative impact on European trade and collaborations in Southeast Asia. If EU member countries stop buying palm oil, we will also stop buying their products.

“Malaysia’s palm oil meets the stringent sustainability standards recognised under RED, based on Europe’s renowned sustainability methods and regulated by the EU Commission,” he added. — Bernama