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EU resolution on palm oil discriminatory and bias, says Mah

EU resolution on palm oil discriminatory and bias, says Mah
To protect the country's palm oil industry, the government will actively organise over 100 briefings and tour until next year. Filepic
TELUK INTAN: The approval of European Parliament's special committee of a resolution which called for the need of a single certification to guarantee that only sustainably produced palm oil enters the European Union (EU) market is discriminatory and bias against Malaysia's palm oil exports to the continent.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said the action of the special committee, which composed of members of the EU Parliament, was also a cause for concern to the country if it was approved.

"For me, it is not fair that they (EU) wants the certification before the palm oil can enter the EU market. Malaysia, as a palm oil producer, is entitled to issue the certificate and not for Europe to determine," he said.

He said this at a media conference after opening the 'Hello Teluk Intan's Commodities' programme here today.
Over 100 small farmers and entrepreneurs attended the programme, which aims to provide knowledge and awareness of the commodity sector

Mah said the resolution, which would be tabled in April, among others, also included the requirement for food labelling, indicating that palm oil was sustainably produced through packaging or information accessible through technological features.

"Malaysia is against the resolution because it would have a negative impact on palm oil exports to the EU and the impact on the economy is very bad for producers," he said.

He said if the EU Parliament were to approve the proposal, it would be a big challenge for Malaysia's palm oil industry.

"We also held a dialogue with the affected parties to tell them that the motion is a discrimination against palm oil," he said.

Mah said to protect the country's palm oil industry, the government will actively organise over 100 briefings and tour until next year, in order to create awareness among the 600,000 smallholders on Sustainable Palm Oil Certification Malaysia (MSPO).

"MSPO is the legal code standard on best practices from planting palm oil to processing and will be implemented in stages from 2018," he said.

In 2016, the EU was an important export destination for Malaysian palm oil products, with exports at 3.63 million tonnes worth RM10.3 billion, up 4.14 per cent from RM9.89 billion in the previous year. -- Bernama