Malaysia-Indonesia to Send Palm Oil Joint Mission to EU This Month
18 May 2023 18:01 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia and Indonesia, the leaders of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries, will send a joint mission to Brussels on May 30-31 to discuss diverse issues related to palm oil.
“The mission is for engagement with the European Union (EU) commission,” said the Malaysian Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Fadillah Yusof, in a press conference following the 11th meeting of the CPOPC ministers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, May 17.
The joint mission is carried out as an effort to resolve issues faced by palm oil-producing countries following the policies implemented by importing countries from the European Union. At the end of last year, the EU bloc issued the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) which was considered by palm oil-producing countries to be detrimental to the palm oil industry and eliminate small stakeholders; small entrepreneurs or palm oil farmers, from the supply chain. The Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil industries have also been accused of causing deforestation. In addition, it is also considered that the palm oil industry does not provide many benefits to small businesses or farmers.
Fadillah Yusof said the joint mission in Brussels will explain initiatives done by Indonesia and Malaysia, especially issues related to the environment, and discuss sustainable activities that can be done together. Malaysia and Indonesia, he went on, need clarity about rules and practical guidelines.
“They (EU) said that smallholders (small businesses and farmers) are not impacted, so we need clear guidelines,“ said Yusof, adding the issue of traceability on the mechanism and the audit process goes.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economy, Airlangga Hartarto, who also attended the meeting added that a collaboration is required for mutual recognition arrangement on the standards of palm oil issues.
According to Airlangga, Indonesia is attempting to a mutual recognition arrangement of the standards.“That's the issue we have to resolve,” he said. As for the certification requested by the EU, he said that it would be very difficult for small businesses and farmers to comply with.
Both Airlangga and Fadillah hope that the EU accepts and recognizes the certification processes done by Indonesia and Malaysia. Regarding deforestation, the minister said that Indonesia already set a moratorium in 2010.
Both ministers also asserted the importance of the joint missions for small businesses and farmers. “What's important (from this mission) is to send strong messages that palm oil actually contributed a lot, in compliance with UN SDGs; to address poverty issues,” said Yusof. According to him, action taken by the EU without negotiation will definitely impact the small stakeholders or small businesses-farmers. “This is the attention of Indonesia and Malaysia.”
According to Fadillah, small businesses and farmers support 40 percent of the global palm oil supply. The recorded number of small businesses and farmers in Malaysia is around 450,000 people, while in Indonesia, around 2.5 million people.
The joint mission done by Indonesia and Malaysia is a follow-up to find a solution to the palm oil dispute with the EU. The two Southeast Asian countries had previously brought this issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Indonesia and Malaysia deem that the European Union implemented a discriminative policy against palm oil products from both countries.
PURWANI DIYAH PRABANDARI (KUALA LUMPUR)
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