Malaysia, Indonesia to join forces to counter EU palm oil export restriction

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

KUCHING, Nov 22: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia and Indonesia view the export restriction against palm oil into the European Union (EU) seriously and will take joint action to counter the discrimination which will otherwise jeopardise more than 18 million smallholders in both countries.

He said both countries view the export restriction as unfair to smallholders in Malaysia and Indonesia and the EU should not continue to implement it.

He told reporters this at a press conference together with Indonesian President Joko Widodo after the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia Annual Leaders’ Consultation.

“I emphasised the fact that the discrimination will adversely affect the palm oil industry, jeopardise the income, welfare and livelihood of 600,000 smallholders in Malaysia and 17.5 million of them in Indonesia,” he told reporters at a hotel here today.

Najib said both countries had highlighted the issue and got the attention of the EU President Donald Tusk who would personally look into the matter.

He said a Malaysian minister had met up with an EU representative while Indonesian’s minister will meet up with an EU representative in Indonesia soon.

Collectively, Malaysia and Indonesia contribute more than RM57 billion, about 82 per cent, of the world’s palm oil production.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in April that only environmentally sustainable palm oil can be imported into the EU after 2020.

It called for a single certified sustainable palm oil scheme for Europe-bound palm oil exports to make sure that the oil was produced using environmentally sustainable methods and prevented deforestation.

The resolution said the current certification scheme was flawed and did not meet internationally accepted standards on sustainability. — DayakDaily