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Indonesia, Malaysia Heading for Brussels to Discuss EU Deforestation Law

25 May 2023 16:07 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaTop officials of the world's two largest palm oil-producing countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, are set to visit the European Union HQ in Brussels on May 30-31, 2023. The joint team will voice concerns over new regulations on deforestation that they believe could adversely affect small farming businesses.

The European Parliament approved the law last month which bans imports of coffee, beef, soybeans, and other commodities into the European Union unless companies can provide "verifiable" information that the products were not grown on deforested land after 2020. Violators might face hefty fines.

Earlier on May 24, 2023, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto stated that the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) could exclude the vital role of small farmers in global supply chains, failing to recognize their value and rights.

“We want to emphasize that the EUDR is burdensome for small farmers because they must comply with administrative procedures as required in the regulation,” he said.

Besides Airlangga, the joint mission will be attended by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof. During the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on May 17, 2023, Yusof said the mission is aimed at engaging with the European Union regarding this regulation.

“They (the European Union) say that smallholders (small businesses and farmers) are not affected, so we need clear guidelines,” said Yusof who is also the Malaysian Minister of Plantations and Commodities. He added that there are issues with traceability in the audit mechanism and process.

Based on the press release, the mission will also identify and discuss steps that can be taken so that the regulation will not be detrimental, especially to small farmers of oil palm and other commodities.

Accounting for around 85 percent of global palm oil exports with the European Union as their third largest market, Indonesia and Malaysia accuse the EU of discriminatory policies targeting palm oil.

Meanwhile, European Union Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket has repeatedly denied the alleged discrimination against palm oil imports. “This law applies to all products, both in Europe and abroad. There is no discrimination, no favoritism,” Vincent said in an interview with Tempo last February 2023.

This new regulation is warmly welcomed by environmentalists as a fundamental step towards protecting forests given that deforestation contributes about 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

DANIEL A. FAJRI | REUTERS

Editor's Choice: Malaysia-Indonesia to Send Palm Oil Joint Mission to EU This Month

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