KUALA LUMPUR: The United Kingdom agrees with Malaysia’s position that the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive II (RED) is unfair and goes against international trade practice.
In a statement today, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Britain’s support on the issue was expressed during a courtesy call by British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell.
The meeting was focused on the EU proposal to ban palm oil from biofuel and renewable energy mix by 2020, and its adverse effect on the income and livelihoods of more than 650,000 smallholders in Malaysia.
Malaysia strongly opposes the EU resolution as it discriminates and seeks to ban palm oil from 2021, yet other vegetable oils would only be phased out from 2031.
Treadell said the UK agreed with Malaysia that it was unfair to ban palm oil much earlier than other vegetable oils .
Malaysia-UK bilateral relations encompasses a wide range of areas including education, trade and culture and tourism.
Malaysia is the UK’s second largest export market in Asean and the UK is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner in Europe.
In the field of education, there are currently more than 18,000 Malaysians studying in the UK.
Since the historic Brexit referendum in June 2016, the UK government had been more active in engaging with trading partners outside Europe.
Last month, the majority of the UK Members of European Parliaments (MEPs) had opposed the EU proposed ban on palm oil, especially lawmakers who are representing the UK Conservative Party.
The meeting between Mah and Treadell also discussed future cooperation between Malaysia and UK, particularly in development of downstream palm oil products to create new economic opportunities.
Mah said both the UK and Malaysia will organise a roundtable discussion with local palm oil industry leaders, potential investors and technical experts.
On February 10 2018, Mah will lead a Malaysian delegation to the EU for the Malaysia-EU Oil Palm Negotiation Mission. Besides meeting with EU Commissioners and policy makers, the mission will also include meetings with government representatives from six different European nations, namely Germany, UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Poland.
Mah said the mission seeks to negotiate with the members of the tripartite meeting from influential countries to gain support and express Malaysia’s firm stance to oppose the discrimination against the palm oil producing countries which are mainly in developing Asia.