On Monday, 11 June, French Environment minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Twitter that “France wants to stop the rise in use [of palm oil and soybean oil] from one year to the other.” This follows efforts by French officials in Brussels to propose a freeze on Palm Oil biofuel imports as part of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.
This proposal is a betrayal of multiple promises made by the French Government, which Faces of Palm Oil noted yesterday. The French Government is now adopting Trump-like trade tactics that violate WTO rules.
Reuters reports the protests of Malaysian small farmers, whose livelihoods are threatened by the French proposals:
“Small farmers in Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, said a move to cap palm oil exports at an EU level would be discriminatory and a “betrayal”.
Dato’ Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia, President of National Association of Smallholders (NASH) Malaysia, explained to international media the consequences of a disguised ban:
“This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia,” they said in a statement sent by Faces of Palm Oil lobby group. Those promises must be honoured. Attempts to camouflage this discrimination behind technical calculations are deceitful.”
As Europe moves toward a conclusion of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) negotiations, they must guarantee 100% equal treatment for Palm Oil alongside other oilseeds, and scrap the proposition of a ban altogether.
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