PM mulls tit-for-tat action over EU palm oil boycott

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Mahathir had yesterday said that the federal government will be more aggressive in protecting the country’s oil palm industry. — AFP pic
Mahathir had yesterday said that the federal government will be more aggressive in protecting the country’s oil palm industry. — AFP pic
UALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Putrajaya may stop buying goods from European Union (EU) member states if the bloc proceeds with its plan to ban Malaysian-made palm oil products, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister had yesterday said Pakatan Harapan leaders had a consensus that the federal government must be more aggressive to protect the country’s oil palm industry.

“We think we will stop buying some European products.

“That is one thing we can do,” he told a press conference in Parliament here.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said the government was not above retaliatory moves against the EU if it continues with its unfair actions against the production of palm oil.

He added that his administration has written to all EU heads of government on the matter.

The call for retaliation would take place if the EU proceeds to implement the Delegated Act to phase out and ban palm biodiesel.

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.

In January, Dr Mahathir had written a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron and said that Malaysia would look into laws to restrict imports of French products if it did not withdraw plans to ban palm biodiesel.

French lawmakers had in last December voted to remove palm oil from the country’s biofuel scheme, beginning January 2020.

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