Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong today held a bilateral discussion with the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag. (NSTP PIC)

KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral discussions between Malaysia and the Netherlands needs to be intensified to ensure only accurate facts concerning the oil palm industry is propagated, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

Mah today held a bilateral discussion with the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.

He described the position of the Netherlands government against unjust discrimination as mature and rational.

On Thursday, the Netherlands announced it has joined a few other European Union (EU) countries to oppose the proposed ban on palm oil by the European Parliament.

Kaag said the Netherlands did not support discriminatory measures or differentiation between products and called for a dialogue on the palm oil issue.

“Palm oil and palm-based exports to EU countries had a value of RM11 billion in 2017. Of this total, exports to the Netherlands stood at RM6.3 billion,” he said in a statement.

Mah reiterated Malaysia’s commitment against the unjustified trade ban towards palm oil and to safeguard the livelihood of 650,000 Malaysian oil palm smallholders.

“Malaysia will not tolerate the action of related parties that sabotage the income of the smallholders,” he added.

Both ministers also agreed to strengthen cooperation in their common interests through the Malaysia-Netherlands Sub-Committee on Oil Palm.

They also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Malaysia Palm Oil Board and the Netherlands’ Wageningen Food and Biobased Research on the Optimisation of Sustainable Use of Oil Palm Biomass.

The cooperation serves to develop downstream search programmes targeted at value-added products, such as packaging and bioplastics from oil palm trunks. – BERNAMA

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