KUALA LUMPUR 27 APRIL 2018. Participants attending the Malaysian Young Programme Public Forum The Future of Malaysia Palm Oil Integrated Independent Growers Into The Global Supply Chain. (NSTP pic by Rosela Ismail)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government targets RM80 billion in palm oil exports this year, thanks to higher volume and firm pricing, according to the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry.

Last year, Statistics Department data showed Malaysia’s palm oil exports amounted to RM77.8 billion.

“I think our palm oil output should be able to touch 20.5 million tonnes this year,” said ministry secretary general Datuk K. Yogeesvaran.

“I hope, with more concerted marketing efforts in emerging markets such as Iran, Vietnam and the Philippines, this year's export would top RM80 billion,” he told reporters after officiating at a palm oil forum here today.

Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) Parliament voted to ban palm oil-based biofuels by 2021, while other vegetable oil-based biofuels such as those from soya oil and rapeseed oil can continue to be used until 2030.

When asked to comment, Yogeesvaran reiterated that the palm oil ban proposed by the EU Parliament is an unacceptable protectionist trade barrier, and a breach of the EU’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments.

Malaysia has raised the issue at the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee and the Council of Trade in Goods (CTG) on 20th-23rd March 2018, along with Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Yogeesvaran noted the EU held its latest ‘Trilogue’ negotiation meeting on 27 March 2018 in Brussels, to discuss the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The next trilogue meeting will be held on 17 May this year.

It is widely known that Malaysian palm oil biofuels are certified as sustainable under the RED by leading European sustainability schemes, regulated by the EU Commission.

“We expect equal treatment for palm oil exports to Europe. We urge the European Commission, European Governments, and the Council of the EU, to reject the proposed palm oil ban,” said Yogeesvaran.