KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Today, the National Association of Small Holders (NASH) condemned the 11th hour tactics of the Governments of France and Italy to impose a freeze on Palm Oil biofuel exports as part of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia.
The proposed freeze replaces the planned Ban on Palm Oil originally passed by the EU Parliament in January 2018.
The new proposal will be discussed on 11th June in Luxembourg, at a meeting of EU Energy Ministers.
As reported by Euractiv, the proposal consists of a “cap on counting towards the targets at a level of 2020 consumption or on a basis of a threshold 130 gCO2eq/MJ”.
Any cap on Palm Oil biofuel exports to Europe is a discriminatory act and a clearly-targeted trade barrier aimed at Malaysia’s 650,000 small farmers of Palm Oil.
The RED must guarantee 100% equal treatment for Palm Oil with other oilseeds. This is the only acceptable outcome for international trade rules and is the only outcome that will avoid unnecessary and negative trade consequences for both Europe and Malaysia.
Dato’ Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia, President, National Association of Smallholders Malaysia stated:
“Any EU ban or cap on Palm Oil biofuels is a discriminatory action against the hundreds of thousands of small farmers across Malaysia. The Governments of France and Italy promised that there would not be discriminatory treatment against Palm Oil. Those promises must be honoured. Attempts to camouflage this discrimination behind technical calculations are deceitful. Europe is now adopting Trump-like trade tactics that violate WTO rules. The EU cannot credibly claim to be a defender of global trade if this discrimination against Palm Oil is adopted.”
If Member States and the Commission are true to their word about defending international trade, they should reject this compromise proposal – and commit to equal treatment for Palm Oil.
Some of the many EU promises made to Malaysia:
- “France was not in favour of the ban and discrimination against Palm Oil at the national and EU levels”– French Defence Minister Florence Parly
- Italian Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur 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”
- 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”.
- “The United Kingdom agrees with Malaysia’s position that the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive II (RED) is unfair and goes against international trade practice”.– UK High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell in New Straits Times
- “Sweden and many other European countries, who are member states of the EU, are against any kind of discrimination. That includes any regime that would be discriminating against other products”– Sweden’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt
- German Ambassador to Indonesia Michael von Ungern-Stenberg also disagreed with the EU Parliament ban on Palm Oil biofuels.