Statement from Malaysia Minister following RED 2nd Trilogue

The EU held the 2nd ‘Trilogue’ negotiation meeting on 27th March in Brussels, to discuss the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong released the following statement:

The Malaysian Government’s position on the RED remains consistent. The palm oil ban proposed by the EU Parliament is an unacceptable protectionist trade barrier, and a breach of the EU’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments.

The Malaysian Government will defend our 650,000 small farmers who cultivate oil palm, and will not accept any discrimination from the EU that harms our rural communities.

Malaysia stands in solidarity with our fellow palm oil producing countries, who have all been clear on the consequences should the EU impose an aggressive trade barrier against our nations. Banning palm oil will negatively impact European trade and cooperation in South East Asia. If the EU Member States stop purchasing our palm oil, we will stop buying their products.

Malaysia has raised the issue at the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee and the Council of Trade in Goods (CTG) on 20th-23rd March, along with Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The RED proposed ban on palm oil is discriminatory and a clear breach of the EU’s WTO commitments.

Malaysia urges the European Commission, European Governments, and the Council of the EU, to reject the proposed palm oil ban.

Malaysia thanks our many friends and partners in Europe who support Malaysian farmers and oppose the discriminatory ban on palm oil. The Governments of France, Spain and Italy have shown welcome support that will strengthen Malaysia’s relationship with those nations.

Malaysia condemns the misinformation about palm oil that has been spread in recent days in European newspapers by radical NGO activists, allied with protectionist EU industry lobbyists. Such deliberate falsehoods and misrepresentations are offensive, and have no place in informed political debate.

The Malaysian Government expects equal treatment for palm oil exports to Europe. The proposed ban would allow all other oilseed crops to continue operating under the RED, whereas palm oil will be excluded. This is a clear case of discrimination against palm oil producing countries. Any proposed language that does not treat palm oil equally with other oilseed crops will be considered equivalent to a ban, and will be fully opposed by the Malaysian Government.

Malaysian palm oil meets the strictest standards of sustainability required. Malaysian palm oil biofuels are certified as sustainable under the RED by leading European sustainability schemes, regulated by the EU Commission.