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Palm oil mission ends on high note with UK set to recognise sustainable certification
Published on: Saturday, June 03, 2023
By: Bernama
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Palm oil mission ends on high note with UK set to recognise sustainable certification
Fadillah Yusof said Malaysia has also negotiated with the UK to eliminate tariffs on palm oil from the current 12% to zero. (Bernama pic)
LONDON: Deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof’s official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) ended on a high note as policymakers here have given their commitment to recognise the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification in the due diligence guidelines for ensuring that commodities entering the country are sustainable.

He said this transpired from the meetings with minister of state for international trade Nigel Huddleston and minister of state for international development Andrew Mitchell on Thursday.

“They were very positive, as they gave their commitment that MSPO would be among the documents recognised in the due diligence process,” he told the Malaysian media at the end of his official visit to the UK yesterday.

“In fact, they also said what they plan in terms of guidelines is that products originating from a different country that are not covered by UK laws will be bound by the producing countries’ laws,” he said.

Their statement is good news for Malaysia, said Fadillah, who is also the plantation and commodities minister.

“Obviously, we would like to see this put down in black and white, but that is their initial statement and we look forward to working closely with the UK,” he said, adding that it would open up more business opportunities between Malaysia and the UK.

The UK’s accession to the CPTPP, of which Malaysia is a member, is expected in a few months. This will be Malaysia’s first trade deal with the UK.

Malaysia has negotiated with the UK to eliminate tariffs on Malaysian palm oil from the current 12% to zero upon entry into the trade pact.

Bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded US$7.3 billion (RM33.4 billion) in 2022, with the UK recording a trade surplus of some US$786 million.

For 2023, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) anticipates palm oil exports to increase by 3.7% to 16.3 million tonnes due to continuous demand from importing countries.

Fadillah said Malaysia will also need to work together with the UK government to introduce a law to prevent negative labelling of products from Malaysia.

Positive developments in EU but challenges remain

As for the European Union (EU), he said although Malaysia and Indonesia’s joint mission to convey concerns over and objection to the newly-legislated EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is a success, challenges with the bloc remains.

Before coming to the UK, Fadillah was in Brussels, Belgium, for the joint mission under the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC). Indonesia was represented by its coordinating minister for economic affairs, Dr Airlangga Hartarto.

During the meetings with EU representatives, the ministers from Malaysia and Indonesia highlighted the impact of the EU’s supply chain law and consistently emphasised the need for the EU to engage with the producing countries at the working and technical levels.

The feedback has been positive as the EU is open to engagement, while the CPOPC has proposed a task force involving all stakeholders.

“What needs to be done now is more engagements. Most importantly, there is a need to follow up in ensuring the points raised and discussed are being addressed and reciprocated,” Fadillah said.

Malaysia and Indonesia contribute more than 80% of global palm oil exports.

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