KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Government is planning to file a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the European Union (EU) by this year over its discrimination against palm oil.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Willie Mongin said on Monday Malaysia is adamant and steadfast in taking legal action against the EU due to its discrimination towards Malaysian palm oil.
The ministry is working closely with the Attorney General’s Chamber (AGC), the International Trade and Industries Ministry (Miti), and the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry to prepare all necessary documents for the filing of the case against the EU through the dispute settlement mechanism (DSM).
“Malaysia will also act as a third party in Indonesia’s WTO case against the EU to indicate our support to other palm oil producing countries and this will indirectly increase the pressure on the EU, ” he said in a special address at Invest Malaysia 2020 - Virtual Series 2 here.
WIllie also said that the Malaysian commodities industries, especially palm oil and rubber, have been subjected to various punitive actions by the United States based on allegations of labour issues.
“The Malaysian government takes any allegations on the existence of forced labour in the agricultural commodity sector seriously. The ministry has reminded all operators in the palm oil industry to continuously adhere to good labour practices in oil palm plantation operations.
“The rubber sector was also embroiled in the issue of labour exploitation. Malaysia does not condone forced labour. However, labour is a very delicate issue that requires cooperation from various ministries and agencies, ” he said, adding that the ministry is doing its part in coming up with strategic solutions with regards to the issue.
Willie also said it will be a continuous effort by the ministry to expel the allegations and eradicate labour issues plaguing the commodities sector.
Most recently, two of Top Glove Corporation Bhd’s subsidiaries - Top Glove Sdn Bhd and TG Medical Sdn Bhd - were slapped with a withhold release order (WRO) on its disposable gloves by the US Customs and Border Protection on July 15, over allegations of forced labour.
WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd was also embroiled in an issue of labour exploitation, with WROs imposed by the CBP on its disposable rubber gloves on Sept 30 last year, but was withdrawn on March 23 this year due to the need for rubber gloves following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.