Teresa Kok: French anti-palm oil vote ‘unwarranted and unjustified’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Primary Industries Ministry has criticised the French National Assembly’s decision to exclude the use of palm oil as a biodiesel feedstock, saying the move could have a profound impact on Malaysia.

Teresa Kok said the move was unwarranted and unjustified, and could potentially disrupt the livelihood of key palm oil producer nations, including Malaysia.

She said Malaysia would strongly protest the action and would also muster support from other key palm oil producers.

“This is a most unwelcome decision and goes against the very principles of free and fair trade. The vote by the (French) parliamentarians is alarming and deserves the strongest condemnation.

“Their action to ultimately exclude the usage and import of palm oil as part of the approved renewable energy mix could affect our bilateral trade relations,” she said.

Kok described the vote by the French parliamentarians – who had adopted amendments to its existing biofuels and fuels legislation while not recognising palm biodiesel as green fuel – as discriminatory and unfair.

“Therefore, I call upon the French Senate to make a conscionable and socially-responsible decision on the Lower House’s vote,” she said in a statement on Saturday (Dec 22).

The French National Assembly had on Dec 19 voted to end tax incentives for adding palm oil to diesel fuel as of 2020 and decided to treat palm oil diesel as a regular fuel and not as a green fuel.

Kok said the endorsement of the French National Assembly’s vote against palm oil would have a profound impact on the livelihoods of millions, not only on Malaysians but also other South-East Asians, and would negatively affect the economies of palm oil-producing countries.

“I appeal to the French authorities to reconsider this anti-palm oil vote or be ready to face retaliatory actions on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations from all palm oil producers,” she said.


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