Dr Mahathir: Malaysia to retaliate if EU discriminates against palm oil

A worker collects palm oil fruit after being harvested at a plantation in Kampung Bukit Hijau, Kuala Selangor March 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
A worker collects palm oil fruit after being harvested at a plantation in Kampung Bukit Hijau, Kuala Selangor March 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, March 19 — Malaysia will consider retaliating against the European Union (EU) if it goes ahead with its unfair measures against palm oil, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The prime minister said the government had agreed that Malaysia should be more aggressive on the matter.

“In fact, we have written to all the heads of government of the EU and we have pointed out to them that we may need to retaliate if they continue with this discrimination against palm oil,” he said after chairing a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting, here today.

It was reported on Friday that Malaysia would consider retaliatory actions against European exports if the EU proceeds to implement the Delegated Act to phase out and ban palm biodiesel.

In January, the prime minister had sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, saying that Malaysia would consider laws to restrict imports of French products if Paris did not withdraw plans to ban palm biodiesel.

On December 19 last year, French lawmakers voted to remove palm oil from the country’s biofuel scheme, starting January 2020.

In his letter to Macron, Dr Mahathir stated that if France persisted on banning palm oil, Malaysia would be forced to suspend free-trade talks with the EU and impose similar sanctions against French exports.

The proposed EU Delegated Act — slated to be tabled before the European Parliament in April 2019 — supplements the EU Renewable Energy Directive II to restrict and ban palm oil biofuel altogether by 2030. — Bernama