BALI, Indonesia: Malaysia and Indonesia will have the right to file an official complaint to World Trade Organisation (WTO), if the European Commission pursues to adopt European Parliament’s resolution on palm oil and deforestation as its official policy.
In a statement issued from Indonesia today, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the government will be compelled to respond appropriately, should the European Union's continued discriminatory stance to exclude palm biofuel from EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.
Last week, the Environment Committee (ENVI) in the EU Parliament voted to exclude all palm biofuels from the European Union’s renewable energy market.
If the directive is adopted on the legislative level, Mah highlighted palm oil would be excluded from the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive while other vegetable oils remain included.
Mah is currently leading the Malaysian Delegation to co-chair the Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries in Indonesia.
Organised by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) and chaired by Indonesia, there were representatives from other oil palm producing countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand.
"This meeting is historic and the first of its kind. All major oil palm producing countries, led by Malaysia and Indonesia, are officially addressing the unprecedented challenges that the industry faces," he said.
Mah expressed Malaysia’s concerns regarding the growing anti-palm oil campaign in the European Union Parliament, describing attempts by the Members of European Parliament in associating palm oil and rainforest deforestation as unjust and discriminatory.
"The European Union is discriminating against palm oil as the ENVI Committee clearly states that competitor oilseed crops will still be allowed to continue operating under the Renewable Energy Directive while palm biofuel would be excluded," he said.
Mah reiterated allegations made by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on the ENVI Committee relating to oil palm's negative environmental impacts are wrong and misleading. This is because Malaysia’s forest protection is vastly superior to that of almost every EU member state.
Malaysia has one of the most advanced forest protection regimes in the world, as recognised by the United Nations and the World Bank.
Oil palm producing countries, such as Malaysia, can testify the numerous socio-economic benefits of this agricultural activity.
There are 650,000 smallholders in Malaysia depending on the industry for their livelihoods and another three million people involved throughout the sprawling value chain.