PETALING JAYA: The UK’s decision to join a regional trade pact is expected to help Malaysia break down the stigma and negative propaganda surrounding palm oil, plantation and commodities minister Fadillah Yusof said today.
“Not only do we welcome the UK to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), we also welcome its trade secretary Kemi Badenoch’s remarks on palm oil,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
“… She rightly dispelled the myth of deforestation and the negative or untrue campaigns regarding the commodity,” he said at a Ramadan event in Kuching.
Fadillah, who is also deputy prime minister, hoped both countries could collaborate to change the negative perception of palm oil and promote it as a healthy product.
In a separate statement, he said the UK’s move to join the CPTPP presented Malaysia with an opportunity to strengthen its relationship with the UK amid the significant prospects that the Indo-Pacific region offered trading partners.
He said the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) sector was well-positioned to meet demand from consumers in the UK and Europe looking for more ethical alternatives to edible oils.
“The plantation and commodities ministry recognises the importance of protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity, and Malaysia is committed to helping its sustainable palm oil sector become even more environmentally friendly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fadillah said Malaysia would continuously conduct engagement sessions with the European Union (EU) on CPTPP to ensure they were fully aware of Malaysia’s commitment to the MSPO.
Last month, Fadillah said Putrajaya was working with plantation industry players to counter the negative campaign against palm oil, especially the “unfair narrative” by the EU to create a negative perception of palm oil, which he added amounted to a trade barrier.
The EU had in November 2021, introduced the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation to limit deforestation caused by the consumption of agricultural commodities and products around the world.
The EUDR lists palm oil as one of the commodities that drive deforestation and forest degradation through the expansion of agricultural land.
The implementation of the EUDR is expected to have a significant impact on the use of palm oil in the EU, and create a negative image of Malaysian palm oil, which will lead to a reduction in exports to the EU and possibly globally.