Malaysia, Indonesia, Colombia to meet over French anti-palm oil vote

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is scheduled to hold a meeting with Indonesia and Colombia in Jakarta next February to discuss the French National Assembly’s decision to exclude the use of palm oil as a biodiesel feedstock.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the French National Assembly’s decision posed a challenge to the country’s palm oil industry as there were positive signs of price recovery to RM2,000 per tonne.

“In order to ensure that the country’s palm oil industry remains strong, the ministry will continue to encourage smallholders to strive for the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

“I find that many smallholders are unaware of the importance of MSPO in terms of good practices in the oil palm industry, thus raising the oil palm standard to the global best level,” she said after launching a Blood Donation and Health Examination Programme organised by the Bukit Jalil Rotary Club, here, today.

The French National Assembly had on Dec 19 voted to end tax incentives for adding palm oil to diesel fuel as of 2020 and decided to treat palm oil diesel as a regular fuel and not as a green fuel.

Kok said the MSPO certification would be able to address the anti-palm oil campaign undertaken by the European Union (EU) and western countries.

Urging the public to support local palm oil products following the campaign, Kok said: “As the French National Assembly’s decision is a discrimination against a Malaysian commodity, the ministry will establish cooperation with non-governmental organisations, schools and various government agencies for next year’s palm oil campaign to raise awareness on the importance and benefits of using local palm oil.”

Kok called for fair trade with France as palm oil producers such as Malaysia and Indonesia were importing food and using technologies from EU countries, including France.