Gov't Threatens to Ban European Goods as EU Plans to Cut Palm Oil



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Indonesian government is ready to take firm action against European products if the European Union (EU) continued its plan to ban palm oil as a biofuel.

    “We (Indonesia) do not want to be dictated by anyone. We are a big nation, and President Jokowi asserts so, especially if the issues related to small people, small entrepreneurs or smallholders,” said Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in Jakarta, March 20.

    Luhut threatened to ban European products including aircraft to enter Indonesia if the EU issues the ban on palm oil as a biofuel. “We will see EU’s movement. If our palm oil is cut, our people will die, how can we set it aside?” he stressed.

    He mentioned that the country needed some 2,500 aircraft in different types within the next 20 years. “I think that’s a huge number, reaching up to US$40 billion, and that will create 250 million employments for Europe or the US,” Luhut added.

    Read: Malaysia Threaten WTO Challenge to EU's Move to Drop Palm Biofuel

    The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), he continued, predicted that Indonesia's aviation sector would three-fold increase by 2034 amounted to 270 passengers per year.

    “I make it clear for Europe that we are not an underdeveloped country, but the developing one and we have great potential of investment,” Luhur said.

    During the meeting at the Foreign Affairs Ministry building with European business leaders in the archipelago, Luhut said that Indonesia and the EU have good bilateral ties thus far. Indonesia, he said, needed European products to build bigger investment in the future.

    However, the recommendation issued by European Commission on the plan to phase out palm oil from biofuel that considered the matter at the high-risk status would greatly affect around 20 millions of workers in Indonesia’s palm oil plantation sector.