Pic by Nurul Syazana Rose Razman
by FARAH ADILLA
KUALA LUMPUR: The Netherlands has become the latest European Union (EU) member after the UK and Sweden to voice out disagreement on the ban of palm oil by the economic bloc.
“We do not support discriminatory measures or differentiation between products.
"We understand the anxiety this may has caused. It is a very sensitive issue," Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation minister Sigrid Kaag told reporters on the sidelines of the Dutch Approach to Innovation and High Tech Development seminar here today.
Kaag said Dutch government also commended Malaysia for all the efforts taken in the gradual phasing out and in the transitioning of palm oil.
These also include the livelihood of smallholders and sustainability issues.
"Nobody should be penalised, and alternatives should need to be created and we need to be discussing this in a proper format where there is full understanding of the local situations and what the global market development can deliver,” she said.
International Trade and Industry minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Kaag will be meeting Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong tomorrow morning to further discuss on the issue.
“This is a very critical industry to us and we do not want any discrimination on our palm oil. Sustainability is very important to us.
“Tomorrow, the minister (Kaag) is meeting minister Mah to further discuss on the issue and to emphasise the importance of palm oil to Malaysia and how the ban is going to affect our smallholders,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mustapa in his meeting with Kaag discussed on the possible re-launch of the Malaysia-EU free trade agreement this year as well as recent developments on the multilateral front.
“I have received the endorsement from the Cabinet to resume the discussion. There are some challenges, we have been exchanging letters and we hope to be able to relaunch the negotiation in the near future,” he said.
In 2017, Malaysia’s trade with Netherlands reached RM34.8 billion, of which 77.4 per cent was contributed by exports.
Malaysia’s exports to Netherlands grew bu 22.7 per cent, while imports from Netherlands increased by 11.7 per cent.
From investment point of view, 337 projects with participation of Dutch companies valued at RM27.3 billion have been approved in Malaysia as at September 2017, making Netherlands Malaysia’s second largest investor from the European Union (EU), behind Germany.
Keywords: investment, trade, MITI, Netherlands, palm oil, EU