Malaysian Palm Oil Council: End of the Road for French Palm Oil Tax

Kuala Lumpur (21 July 2016) – The proposed French Palm Oil tax has been definitively rejected, following the final decision by the French National Assembly yesterday.

The French Government, National Assembly, and Senate have now all confirmed the rejection of the Palm Oil tax. This decision is a strong statement towards strengthening the relations between France and Malaysia.

The French Government has stated that it will review the taxation of vegetable oils later this year. In this process, the French Government must not forget the decision made yesterday, and must uphold France’s commitment not to tax palm oil.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“The vote in the National Assembly Plenary confirms the withdrawal of the Palm Oil tax. 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia thank the French Government and MPs for rejecting this unfair and unjust tax.

“This has been a long and difficult process, but the correct decision has been made. Yesterday’s vote is an important recognition from France that Palm Oil should not be taxed. That principle must be respected in all future discussions.”

What Others Are Saying

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) commissioned an economic analysis, reported by Food Navigator, which demonstrated that no economic basis existed for the proposed Palm Oil tax. The report’s author, University of Aix-Marseilles Professor Pierre Garello, describes the claims in favour of the tax as “factually and materially wrong”.

Read the full article here. Read the full report here.

French experts, including Cécile Philippe from the Institut Economique Molinari, have pointed out the fact that no environmental case exists for taxing Palm Oil. Philippe writes in La Tribune, “Palm Oil is not the environmental monster that has been portrayed…it is impossible to show that this new tax increase would preserve the environment”.

Read the full article here.

Trade expert, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of the European Center for International Political Economy, has confirmed that the tax is illegal under WTO trade rules. Lee-Makiyama writes in Borderlex, “WTO rules have helped France to successfully repeal discriminatory taxes on France’s wines enacted in the name of ‘public health’. In the same manner that a WTO panel ruled in favour of French wines, it will also repeal a discriminatory Nutella tax”.

Read the full article here:

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of Palm Oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of Palm Oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all Palm Oil plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm Oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The Palm Oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in France

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, Palm Oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are dependent on Palm Oil imports; Palm Oil contributes 167m EUR in tax revenue to France; and over 323m EUR in French GDP is attributed to Palm Oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched, including France.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including Palm Oil) and forest protection. Palm Oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm Oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm Oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts in France and across Europe confirm that Palm Oil is safe. A study from the French Foundation for Food & Health, explained that Palm Oil is not hazardous, and the amounts consumed in Europe are perfectly normal.

Similarly, a study in 2014 from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authored by Drs Elena Fattore and Roberto Fanelli, confirmed this point. The study found no evidence that Palm Oil is harmful.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council to President Hollande: Drop the Discriminatory Palm Oil Tax

Kuala Lumpur (25 May 2016) – The Malaysian Palm Oil Council calls on Senators and MPs meeting today before the Commission Mixte Paritaire to reject the discriminatory tax against palm oil.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“We urge Senators and MPs to affirm the decision of the Senate and reject the discriminatory tax against palm oil. The tax hurts more than 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia alone, and is a violation of WTO and EU Trade rules.

Here is what others are saying

Food Navigator has reported on an economic analysis commissioned by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), which demonstrated that no economic basis existed for the proposed palm oil tax. The report’s author, University of Aix-Marseille Professor Pierre Garello, describes the claims in favour of the tax as “factually and materially wrong”.

Read the full article here.  Read the full report here.

French experts, including Cécile Philippe from the Institut Economique Molinari, have pointed out the fact that no environmental case exists for taxing palm oil. Ms. Philippe writes in La Tribune, “Palm oil is not the environmental monster that has been portrayed…it is impossible to show that this new tax increase would preserve the environment”.

Read the full article here.

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of palm oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of palm oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all palm oil plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The palm oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in France

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, palm oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are dependent on palm oil imports; palm oil contributes 167m EUR in tax revenue to France; and over 323m EUR in French GDP is attributed to palm oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land area as forest – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched, including France.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including palm oil) and forest protection. Palm oil covers just 0.03% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats, in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts in France and across Europe confirm that palm oil is safe. A study from the French Foundation for Food & Health, explained that palm oil is not hazardous, and the amounts consumed in Europe are perfectly normal.

Similarly, a study in 2014 from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authored by Drs Elena Fattore and Roberto Fanelli, confirmed this point. The study found no evidence that palm oil is harmful.

Malaysian Small Farmers Condemn French Palm Oil Tax

President Hollande’s Proposed Tax Spells Disaster for Small Farmers

Kuala Lumpur (17 May 2016) – The French Government continues to support a damaging differential tax on palm oil, despite the tax being rejected by the French Senate’s plenary vote.  The tax is a major risk for 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia for whom oil palm cultivation is an essential lifeline.

DatoHaji Aliasak Haji Ambia, President of the National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (NASH) said:

 “President Hollande’s palm oil tax is nothing less than an arrow aimed at the hearts of small farmers around the world. In Malaysia, today, more than one million people would be affected by this damaging new tax.

 “The French Senate have shown compassion and understanding of the needs of small framers in rural communities, and their families. The French Government, and President Hollande, need to show the same compassion. This tax will hurt millions of small farmers and local communities in Malaysia: on behalf of 300,000 small farmers we urge the French Government to change course and abandon this tax”

Dato’ Aliasak also questioned why palm oil did not get a fair ride in France, despite the many claims that French organisations and Government are supportive of small farmers and economic development.

Dao’ Aliasak continued:

“There are many groups, NGOs, roundtables, who claim to support palm oil, but small farmers do not see this support. Instead, these groups are supporting a differential tax that would hit the life chances of small farmers across Malaysia. A punitive tax is not beneficial, and it is certainly not ‘sustainable’.

“Even when the palm oil tax is discussed and voted, we do not hear anything. Only silence in France.”

The social, economic and environmental benefits of palm oil have been recognized across the developing world, with Malaysia as a world-recognized model for smallholder development. 40 per cent of Malaysia’s oil palm is owned or managed by small farmers. Palm oil is one of the most successful poverty alleviation tools in Malaysia, helping to reduce the country’s poverty rate from 50 per cent after independence, to less than 5 per cent today.

Malaysian Small Farmers Reject Proposed French Tax

French MPs voted last week on an additional tax on palm oil. This tax will harm the lives and livelihoods of over 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia for whom oil palm cultivation is an essential lifeline.

Dato’ Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia, President of the National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (NASH) said:

“This tax is unfair, unjustified and discriminatory towards millions of small farmers worldwide. In Malaysia, today, more than one million people would be affected by this damaging new tax. Palm oil is a lifeline for smallholders: it enables them to provide prosperity for their families and communities, lifting them out of poverty.

“The French Government claims to be a friend of the developing world: but this new tax will hurt millions of small farmers and local communities who depend on palm oil. The proposed tax in the French National Assembly is a tax on poor people and a tax on small farmers.”

The social, economic and environmental benefits of palm oil have been recognized across the developing world, with Malaysia as a world-recognized model for smallholder development. 40 per cent of Malaysia’s oil palm is owned or managed by small farmers. Palm oil is one of the most successful poverty alleviation tools in Malaysia, helping to reduce the country’s poverty rate from 50 per cent after independence, to less than 5 per cent today.

Asia One: Malaysia commits to retain 50 per cent of forest cover after COP 21 deal

PUTRAJAYA – Malaysia has reiterated its commitment to retain 50 per cent of its forest areas after signing an agreement with 195 countries at the Paris climate change talks (COP21).
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the country would increase efforts to protect and preserve its forests.

The Star: MPOC launches new Italian web platform

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has launched a new Italian-language educational platform on palm oil, to correct the misinformation about palm oil in Italy, and promote the benefits of oil palm cultivation.
The new platform outlines the environmental and health benefits of palm oil, and corrects misinformation that has been spread in recent discriminatory anti-palm oil campaigns led by Il Fatto Alimentare and the Movimento 5 Stelle.

Read full story here

‘Malaysia committed to stop forest loss, degradation’, December 09, 2015

KUCHING: Malaysia is committed in maintaining at least 50 per cent of forest and tree cover in perpetuity through ‘zero net deforestation and degradation’; thus, halting net forest loss by deforestation and stopping net decline in forest quality.
This would be achieved by reforestation and enrichment of degraded land to increase carbon sequestration and mitigate climate change effects, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in his speech for joint high-level segment of COP21/CMP11 in Paris, France on Dec 7.

The Star: Seminar series features oil palm as a first-time topic, December 05, 2015

OIL PALM was the topic of discussion at the Agriculture Technology Seminar Series XII organised by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (Utar) Faculty of Science and Centre for Biodiversity Research.
The event was held at the university’s Kampar campus as part of its practice of holding seminars to enrich students, staff and stakeholders. For the first time in its long-running series, the seminar entitled Advancing Oil Palm Production in Malaysia featured oil palm as the topic of discussion.

Read full story here

Palm Oil Today: The Facts about Malaysia’s Palm Oil Sector and Labour Rights, November 19, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR – U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Malaysia today, for his second visit in recent years.  Once again, we welcome him to this great nation.
The visit of the U.S. President is focused on promoting Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).  The TPPA is the crown jewel in the President’s ‘Asian Pivot’.  It is a broad, multilateral trade agreement comprising 12 nations including the United States and Malaysia, and will most likely result in higher levels of exports of products such as vegetable oil-derived products, electronics and garments from these countries to the US. This is a worthy and important trade agreement that will help generate economic benefits for Malaysia.

 

Read full story here

The Star: Council for the common good, November 08, 2015

Malaysia-Indonesia council offers great potential

MALAYSIA and Indonesia, the two largest palm oil producing countries that account for 85% of world CPO, recently agreed to set up a Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC). How will this be different from a government-to-government arrangement between the two nations and what do you hope the council can achieve?

Chow: The idea behind it is very positive, as Malaysia and Indonesia are the biggest producers of palm oil in the world. The problem is, if it is set up as a cartel, there will be a very negative impact because cartels usually don’t work. The proposed council must, very importantly, have market intelligence. Both countries should pool their resources to look at how the production of palm oil is, and how our competitors are doing. It will allow both countries to strategise on what they are going to do.

Read full story here