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File picture by Aizuddin Saad.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Indonesia are currently discussing implementation of the B5 biodiesel programme in China, said Plantation and Commodities Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

He said China was now increasing its environmental control on many issues and looking at the possibility of implementing B5 biodiesel, which is a blend of 5% palm oil or palm methyl ester (PME) and diesel.

“It would be a game changer for the oil palm industry, if China implements the B5 programme as it is a very big market,” he added.

He told reporters this after receiving a courtesy call from Indonesia’s Minister of Industry, Airlangga Hartanto and the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) Executive Director, Mahendra Siregar at his office here, today.

Mah said apart from China, Malaysia and Indonesia will work together to export biodiesel to India.

In a statement distributed in conjunction with the meeting, he also said both countries had agreed that palm oil producing nations needed to strengthen their alliance in combating the campaign against the commodity and trade impediments.

A resolution by the European Parliament recently called for the European Union to phase out the use of vegetable oils, including palm oil in biodiesel by 2020, as these were allegedly produced in an unsustainable manner which resulted in deforestation.

Currently, Indonesia and Malaysia are the major global palm oil producers, accounting for 85 per cent of production and 91.2 per cent of exports globally.

Mah in the statement said both countries agreed that palm oil was an important commodity in terms of providing employment, foreign exchange earnings and socioeconomic development, especially for smallholders.

Both Mah and Hartanto stressed the CPOPC’s importance in developing, promoting and strengthening cooperation in palm oil.

“In this context, the CPOPC secretariat has been tasked to promote activities and invite more oil palm producing countries to be members,” Mah said.

In a separate statement, Mah said revenue from palm oil exports from January to June this year reached RM22.9 billion, representing a 26.9 per cent increase over the RM18 billion recorded in the same period of 2016.

“This was mainly due to an increase in palm oil prices over the same period,” he added. - Bernama

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