EU’s anti-palm oil action impeding Malaysia from achieving UN SDGs, says Kok

Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok said the EU’s anti-palm oil action was sending a message to palm oil-producing countries that investments in sustainability does not pay off and is futile. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok said the EU’s anti-palm oil action was sending a message to palm oil-producing countries that investments in sustainability does not pay off and is futile. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok has criticised the European Union (EU) for impeding Malaysia from achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its continuous push to phase out palm oil from its markets.

In a statement, she said Malaysia has taken various efforts to invest in sustainability and comply with sustainable practices, but the EU’s anti-palm oil action was sending a message to palm oil-producing countries that investments in sustainability does not pay off and is futile.

“Our forest is above our international pledge of 50 per cent forest cover, while these critics cannot even claim the same.

“The EU should assist developing countries in achieving the SDGs, instead of imposing onerous rules and policies that undermine their efforts,” she said in an interview after delivering a keynote address at the European Palm Oil Conference in Madrid, Spain on Thursday.

Earlier, Kok and her delegation had met with the Spanish Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil and Spanish Biodiesel Association members who expressed continued support for Malaysian-certified sustainable palm oil and highlighted Spain’s emergence as a major destination for palm oil into Europe.

She said the parties were committed to address the anti-palm oil campaign by jointly promoting palm oil benefits and sustainable production.

The Spanish government had rejected the EU Parliament’s motion to ban palm biofuels, saying that it contravened World Trade Organisation conventions.

Spain is one of the major importers of Malaysian palm oil, having imported 259,701 tonnes of Malaysian palm oil from January to August this year, a 46.8 per cent increase compared with the corresponding period last year. — Bernama

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