BARRIERS to palm oil trade will be a priority item on the negotiating
table in Malaysia’s free trade agreement (FTA) talks with the European
Union (EU), said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri
Malaysia and the EU is due to hold its second
round of FTA talks next month.
“We want to ensure the palm oil
industry does not face obstacles,” he said.
“We will assist
palm oil exporters to remove trade barriers and explore new markets
while making the palm oil industry competitive,” he added.
by Western environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which
claimed that the expansion of palm oil plantations had affected forest
Rivalry from competing vegetable oils grown in
Europe has seen some under-handed tactics adopted by developed nations
to curb the growth of the palm oil trade.
groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth from Europe and their
affiliates in Malaysia and Indonesia blame oil palm planters for
destroying forests, decimating the orang utan population and viciously
campaigning against palm oil imports into the EU, especially for
“These NGOs continue to mislead consumers in Europe.
I will inform the International Trade and Industry minister on such
unfair trade practices,” said Dompok.
Malaysia has to seriously
address such trade barriers to palm oil trade because almost a million
jobs are at stake. The sprawling palm oil industry also supports some
two million livelihoods in the economy.
The NGOs anti-palm oil
campaign is aligned with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive that seeks
to discriminate against palm biodiesel.
Dr Gernot Pehnelt,
founder and director of GlobEcon, an independent research and consulting
institute in Germany had last month argued the directive’s assumptions
of imported biofuels’ ecological impact reflected political and not
scientific or economic reality.
The EU ambassador and head of
delegation to Malaysia Vincent Piket, however, denies the EU is
discriminating against palm oil.
He reportedly said the
sustainability criteria used by the EU Renewable Energy Directive were
science-based, verifiable and in accordance with the World Trade
Source : Business Times