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EU Ban on Palm Oil Products Concerning, Says MPOB

Malaysia is strongly committed to producing palm oil according to sustainable principles, says MPOB’s Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir. (Bernama pic)

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has expressed concern regarding the European Union’s (EU) agreement to ban the import of several products including palm oil, beef, soy, coffee, cocoa and timber.

According to a statement shared on the European Commission (EC) website, the EU reached an agreement on Dec 6 to ban the import of the products, which have been identified as a “driver of deforestation” if they come from land deforested after Dec 31, 2020.

The EC said that when the new rules come into force, all relevant companies will have to conduct strict due diligence if they place their products on the EU market.

It also stated that importing companies will have to show that their products are deforestation-free, and subject to proving “precise geographical information on farmland” where the commodities were sourced.

The EU will now have to formally adopt the regulation before it can enter into force, and traders will have 18 months to implement the rules, the statement said.

MPOB director-general Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said the EU’s regulation only targeted the cultivation of commodities from developing economies as the major challenge in protecting the global environment.

“The implication for the oil palm industry is expected to be from the due diligence statement which will add to administrative burden and higher cost of production vis-à-vis domestically produced rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.

“There is a discrimination here as other crops such as rapeseed and sunflower are not targeted. In addition, smallholders may struggle to comply and be excluded from the EU market,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

Ahmad Parveez said Malaysia is strongly committed to producing palm oil according to sustainable principles and criteria under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification Scheme, which has been implemented mandatorily from Jan 1, 2020.

He also noted that Malaysia has recently revised the MSPO standards to be in line with international norms, increase credibility, and expand broader scopes for recognition from the global market.

Improvements on matters involving social and labor issues, good practices, high conservation values, social impact assessment, and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions were also considered in the revision of the MSPO standards, he said.

The development of the Malaysian oil palm industry is also governed by more than 60 regulations and laws, making it the most regulated industry in Malaysia.

Additionally, he said, Malaysia is committed to forest conservation and tropical rainforest biodiversity and still maintains at least 50% of its land area under forest protection as pledged at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

Ahmad Parveez also said the involvement of the Malaysian palm oil industry in deforestation is very low due to implementation of the regulations and laws in Malaysia.

“This needs to be recognized by the EU. Based on the interpretation, palm oil and its products produced from existing palm plantations before Jan 1, 2021 are considered deforestation-free.

“Malaysia does not allow deforestation for oil palm cultivation. The EU must recognize products based on country of origin and not globally as is done for palm biofuel,” he said.


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