ICYMI: Minister’s Message to Europe: We Will Retaliate Against Palm Oil Ban

Meeting with EU Ministers & leaders, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong reaffirms Malaysia’s defence of Palm Oil small farmers

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong was in Europe this past week to meet with European Ministers and EU leaders, to express Malaysia’s protest against the European Parliament’s plan to ban Palm Oil biofuels from 2021.

The Minister outlined the Malaysian Government’s position, in advance of the forthcoming Trilogue negotiations to finalise the RED, which are set to begin on 27 February 2018. Several European media outlets reported the Minister’s comments:

The Minister stated to the EU media Euractiv:

“Small farmers will be negatively affected. Malaysia has 650,000 small farmers. More than 40% of the land the Palm Oil is cultivated on is run by small farmers”

“Malaysia and the EU are in discussion for a free trade agreement and Palm Oil will definitely be on the top of the agenda. Trade is a two-way process. If Europe discriminates our biggest export item we will definitely take action if needed”

“We will refer the case to the WTO if Europe forces us to do so”

Read the full interview in Euractiv here: Minister: Malaysia Will Retaliate Against EU Goods in Case of Palm Oil Ban

The UK’s Telegraph reported the Minister’s comments on UK-Malaysia relations:

“The UK has always been a supporter of fair and free trade, so I’d like the British government’s support, because I have not heard anything from them on this issue. We are confident Britain will assist in this palm oil issue and we will really appreciate if the UK does assist.”

“We hope good sense will prevail. But if there is a situation where palm oil is not allowed in, if we have to stop selling, I think it is fair that we should retaliate.”

The Minister emphasised his position on the German Radio DeutschlandRadio:

“If we have a ban on Malaysian products in one country, then of course we have to respond with similar measures, but I’m optimistic, I’m sure it will be possible to find a practical solution for both sides”

The visit was highly successful. The Minister secured the commitment from several EU Member States that they will oppose the ban on Palm Oil biofuels.

The Spanish Government agreed that the “RED ban on Palm Oil by 2021 was not in line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) laws and they would not support any discriminatory measures against Palm Oil”.

German Ambassador to Indonesia Michael von Ungern-Stenberg also disagreed with the EU Parliament ban on Palm Oil biofuels.

The Italian Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur also expressed Italy’s support for Malaysian Palm Oil –

“Italy will continue to promote a fair and balanced solution, taking into account the concerns expressed by Malaysia as well as the interests of all stakeholders and firmly rejecting any discriminatory approach specifically targeting a single source of biofuel, the palm oil”

Faces of Palm Oil is a joint project of the National Association of Small Holders (NASH), the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA), the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) that seeks to advocate on behalf of Malaysian small farmers. To learn more, visit https://facesofpalmoil.org