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Malaysia blasts EU’s ‘high risk’ label on palm oil
Published on: Monday, March 18, 2019
By: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has again criticised the European Union’s classification of Malaysian palm oil as “high risk”, with Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah  describing it a political move.

Saifuddin said the drafting and feedback process behind the European Commission’s Delegated Act was flawed from the start and the EU’s claim that it was based on the relative risk of biofuels was disingenuous.

“In reality, the act is a protectionist instrument to restrict palm oil in the European market. It is mind-boggling that the less competitive and efficient oilseeds such as rapeseed, sunflower oil, canola and soybean are classified as ‘low risk’,” he said.

Saifuddin said the act failed to provide data or a convincing explanation to justify the discrimination against Malaysian palm oil.

“Such an aggressive trade barrier targeted at Malaysia’s national interests and our 650,000 smallholders cannot pass without a strong response,” he added.

Saifuddin said should the act be passed, Malaysia would look to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for recourse.

Saifuddin said Malaysia had not displayed any aggression towards Europe which would provoke a direct and targeted threat to the country’s economic interest, expressing disappointment that the EU had undermined the nation’s interest.

“Malaysia has consistently provided evidence on the sustainability of palm oil, including the countrywide Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification standard.

“This discriminatory act undermines the EU’s credibility as a proponent of the WTO-led rules-based system,” he added.

He said the Government has urged friends and counterparts in EU to reject the act, and to preserve and strengthen the strong economic and trading relationship between the EU and Asean.



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