KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Malaysia and Indonesia want the European Union to recognise their work on the environment and deforestation with regard to palm oil production, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha said.

“We have done a lot in the last 10 to 15 years in the area of environment and deforestation and we want the EU to recognise this fact. We have improved a lot but we have not seen them reciprocate,” Mohamad Helmy, who is also Sime Darby Plantation group managing director, told Bernama.

“(Therefore) the message that we want to emphasise or deliver to Brussels is that we don’t want them to come out with any new laws that discriminate against our industry,” he said as he joined Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Plantation and Commodities Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof in his official eight-day visit and trade mission to the EU in Brussels, Belgium and London, the United Kingdom, starting today.

The trade mission to the EU is a joint mission with Indonesia under the Council of Palm Producing Countries (CPOPC).

On Feb 9, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Deputy Prime Minister and Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto mutually agreed to protect the interests of the palm oil sector by strengthening efforts in dealing with the discrimination against palm oil.

This is in response to the implementation of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) announced by the EU on Dec 6, 2022, which aims to prevent deforestation due to agricultural activities.

The implementation of EUDR is considered a non-tariff measure that can have a negative impact on free and fair trade, especially when it is more targeted at agri-commodity products involving millions of smallholders from developing countries that could potentially affect the global supply chain.

The EU is developing due diligence reporting to ensure companies comply with the EUDR.

“Malaysia and Indonesia can negotiate to include as many parts of the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil certifications into the due diligence,” Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics owner and co-founder Sathia Varqa told Bernama.

Combined, Malaysia and Indonesia contribute more than 80 per cent to the global palm oil market.

For the Malaysian market, the EU accounts for 9.4 per cent of Malaysia’s export volume, or 1.47 million tonnes of palm oil.

The CPOPC is an inter-governmental organisation established by Malaysia and Indonesia on Nov 21, 2015, to promote, develop and strengthen oil palm cultivation and industry cooperation among palm oil-producing countries. — Bernama