Important Statement from Malaysian Government: EU Must Drop Deforestation Criteria Proposal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – 5th February 2019. Today, Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries, Ms. Teresa Kok, urged the European Union to drop the Delegated Act, or Deforestation Criteria.

  1. The EU Commission is considering defining Palm Oil as “High Risk” in a Delegated Act due to be released this month. To be clear: the Malaysian Government considers that labelling Palm Oil as “High Risk” is a Ban on Palm Oil, and a “Phase Out” of Palm Oil is also a Ban.
  2. Minister Kok stated, “It is highly advisable for the European Union to abandon the Delegated Act, or Deforestation Criteria. Failing to do so will put at risk its relations with ASEAN. The measure is targeted discrimination against Malaysia and our neighbours, and violates international trading rules. The Malaysian Government has signaled its willingness to lay down retaliatory measures targeting European products and key industrial exports, including luxury brands and manufactured goods.”
  3. Europe and ASEAN have a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship. The Deforestation Criteria is a direct attack on this relationship, and demonstrates contempt for international trading rules. It is for these reasons that Malaysia – and others – did not support upgrading the EU-ASEAN relationship to a “Strategic Partnership” during the recent EU-ASEAN Ministerial in Brussels, and why Malaysia did not sign the Partnership Cooperation Agreement – the process to kick-start FTA talks – with the European Union.
  4. Moreover, in recent weeks, Europe has agreed to declare U.S. soya sustainable in a deal with U.S. President Trump. Malaysia expects the European Union to table the same deal for Malaysian Palm Oil, and will accept nothing less.
  5. Minister Kok challenged European leaders and the European Commission to do the right thing, “Malaysia will not support ASEAN upgrading its relationship with Europe until Europe provides Palm Oil producing countries, and Malaysia, with the same deal as they have given to the American soya industry, and publicly drops the Deforestation Criteria.”
  6. Minister Kok ended by stating, “Malaysia has been clear, led by Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, that we will oppose any discrimination against palm oil, and that any attacks that harm our palm oil sector will be met with a response. Malaysia reserves the right to respond to this aggression in both domestic and international forums, including like-minded legislation targeting European exports, as well as initiate formal WTO Dispute proceedings against the EU.”

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