February 1, 2023
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Malaysia says it could stop palm oil exports to EU after new curbs

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia mentioned on Thursday it could stop exporting palm oil to the European Union (EU) in response to a new EU regulation geared toward defending forests by strictly regulating sale of the product.

Commodities Minister Fadillah Yusof mentioned Malaysia and Indonesia would talk about the regulation, which bans sale of palm oil and different commodities linked to deforestation except importers can present that manufacturing of their particular items has not broken forests.

The EU is a serious palm oil importer and the regulation, agreed to in December, has raised an outcry from Indonesia and Malaysia, the highest producers.

“If we need to engage experts from overseas to counter whatever move by EU, we have to do it,” Mr. Fadillah advised reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on Thursday.

“Or the option could be we just stop exports to Europe, just focus on other countries if they (the EU) are giving us all a difficult time to export to them.”

Environmental activists blame the palm oil trade for rampant clearing of Southeast Asian rainforests, although Indonesia and Malaysia have created sustainability certification requirements obligatory for all plantations.

Mr. Fadillah, who can be deputy prime minister, urged the members of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Nations (CPOPC) to work collectively in opposition to the new regulation and to fight “baseless allegations” made by the EU and United States concerning the sustainability of palm oil.

CPOPC, which is led by Indonesia and Malaysia, has beforehand accused the EU of unfairly concentrating on palm oil.

Responding to Mr. Fadillah, the EU’s ambassador to Malaysia mentioned it was not banning any imports of palm oil from the nation and denied that its deforestation regulation created obstacles to Malaysian exports.

“(The law) applies equally to commodities produced in any country, including EU member states, and aims to ensure that commodity production does not drive further deforestation and forest degradation,” EU Ambassador Michalis Rokas advised Reuters.

Mr. Rokas added that he regarded ahead to assembly Mr. Fadillah to ease Malaysia’s considerations.

EU demand for palm oil was anticipated to decline considerably over the subsequent 10 years even earlier than the new regulation was agreed to. In 2018, an EU renewable-energy directive required the phasing out of palm-based transportation fuels by 2030 due to their perceived hyperlink to deforestation.

Indonesia and Malaysia have launched separate circumstances with the WTO, saying the fuels measure is discriminatory and constitutes a commerce barrier.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim this week agreed to “fight discrimination against palm oil” and strengthen cooperation by CPOPC.

The EU is the world’s third-largest palm oil client, in accordance to Malaysian Palm Oil Board information. It accounts for 9.4% of palm oil exports from Malaysia, taking 1.47 million tonnes in 2022, down 10.5% from a 12 months earlier. — Reuters

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