KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has lauded Thailand's move to join the former and Indonesia in rejecting the European Union’s executive decision on adopting the trade barrier against palm oil.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Thailand’s keenness to respond reflects the agreement and firmness of major palm oil producing countries in fighting against the continuous prejudice and oppression by the EU on oil palm commodities.
Mah affirmed that Thailand’s commitment also proves that Malaysia was not alone in protecting the interests of three million oil palm smallholders in the Asean region, and the effort of campaigning against the EU resolution is gaining strong support from other palm oil producing countries.
Mah described the joint statement made during the recent meeting between Asean foreign ministers as a consistent stance that is in line with the spirit of unity among member states.
"The statement called for continued support for the development of sustainable oil palm industries," Mah said in statement issued after his bilateral meeting with Sontirat Sontijirawong, Thai Minister of Commerce here today.
"Aseans major oil palm producing counties like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand will use all available resources to oppose the trade barrier by the EU Parliament, including through the Asean framework," he added.
The closed meeting was also joined by high ranking executives from both ministries, and discussed the issues related to commodity-based trading industries such as oil palm and rubber.
During the Asean summit in Manila last year, heads of Asean countries released a joint statement to support the development of sustainable oil palm industries.
This statement was also brought to the attention of the EU President, Donald Tusk by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
For the rubber industries, the discussion from both parties focused on the steps to stabilise global rubber prices.
In this regard, Mah gave his assurance that Malaysia will honour the rubber export quota as agreed according to the Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS) made during the International Rubber Tripartite Countries (ITRC) on December 22 last year.
During the meeting, the three ITRC countries agreed to limit the export of natural rubber to 350,000 tonnes for the first three months of 2018.
The readiness of ITRC countries in obliging the stated quota is important in ensuring the mechanism will bring a positive impact towards global natural rubber prices.
Apart from being the largest rubber producer and exporter globally, Thailand is also the third largest producer of palm oil, with an estimated production of almost 2.5 million tonnes in 2017.