PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will rally other palm oil producing countries against a resolution from being passed by the European Parliament that can threaten the industry.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said one move was for Putrajaya to engage with European lawmakers who could help voice Malaysia’s concerns.
“Malaysia strongly opposes the resolution as it will have a negative repercussion on palm oil imports into the European Union (EU) and a devastating impact on the economy of producer nations.
“It is not fair to single out palm oil when other crops that account for over 50% of European imports are not subjected to such measures.
“Malaysia will collaborate with Indonesia to jointly present our case, highlighting the environmental and sustainable development of the industry and its contribution to the economy and poverty eradication efforts,” he said yesterday.
Last week, a European Parliament committee approved a resolution, which, among others, called for the need of a single certification which will guarantee that only sustainably produced palm oil enters the EU market.
The resolution, which links the industry to deforestation and the disappearance of an ecosystem, also proposes labelling for products indicating that the palm oil was sustainably produced.
The EU is currently the largest market for Malaysian palm oil and palm-based products with imports of RM10bil in 2016.
Mah also questioned why the proposed requirement for a single certification would not be imposed on other types of oil, pointing out that Malaysia, as a major exporter and producer, had already ensured that its industry subscribed to sustainable practices.
One of the initiatives, he said, was the implementation of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme, aimed at promoting the production of sustainable palm oil and based on compliance to domestic laws and regulations, including subscribing to the best environment and agricultural practices.
As of January, 221,548ha have been certified under the scheme, which will be made mandatory by December 2019.
“We are already starting on a good certification scheme. The one that EU wants to impose on us may not exactly be suitable for Malaysia,” said Mah.