KUALA LUMPUR: France will not discriminate against oil palm-based products, despite the European Union (EU) voting to impose a ban on the commodity beginning 2021.
French Defence Minister Plorence Parly said the country may be one of EU’s founding members, but was also a partner to Malaysia.
She said France had its own stand on the issue, adding that her country’s government understood how important the oil palm industry was to the Malaysian economy.
“This issue is being handled by the EU. From the French perspective, it is easy... no alternative oil sources have been sidelined, so this shows that there is no discrimination towards palm oil at any national or European level.
“Malaysia can rely on France (to aid Malaysia in the palm oil issue),” she said in a joint press conference with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein after the 4th Malaysia-France Defence Joint High Strategic Committee meeting here.
Parly said the ban was also one of the main issues she had discussed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during their meeting earlier.
She added that France believed the issue could be resolved through dialogues.
Hishammuddin said France’s stand proved the relationship between the two countries could help solve the palm oil issue.
“The palm oil industry is important to Malaysia as it involves 650,000 farmers, with more than 1.5 million involved in the entire chain of the sector,” he said.
It has been reported that a cabinet meeting chaired by Najib last week had agreed to review the country’s trade with the EU following the ban on palm oil products.
Last April, the EU Parliament voted to avoid the use of palm biofuels by 2020. On Jan 17, its Parliament voted to phase out palm biofuels from the EU energy mix after 2020, a decision seen as discriminatory against products from Asia.