The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) wants the United Kingdom (UK) to open its market wider for Malaysian palm oil.
Chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said Malaysia has a good system to comply with the various environmental protection laws, labour rights and workplace safety, which are important criteria to penetrate into the UK market.
“We can use this practice to promote our sustainability criteria on the aspect of palm oil production and believe that it would be a good platform for us,” he said.
He was speaking at a live interview session titled “Palm Oil’s Future in Southeast Asia” organised by Asia Palm Oil Magazine in conjunction with the World Palm Oil Virtual Expo 2020.
Asked whether Brexit is considered an opportunity for Malaysian palm oil as now the UK can draw their own rules, Lee said the UK is now free to regulate from their own perspective in trade.
He said the country should have a more global outlook instead of a Eurocentric outlook after leaving the European Union (EU) on Jan 21 this year.
Responding to the same question, the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) executive director, Tan Sri Yusof Basiron, said if Brexit happens with a deal, the EU will impose more alignment in regulation for the UK to conduct their trade relations.
“But if the UK exits with no deal, then this is an open option for the country to negotiate with suppliers like palm oil-producing countries; and in this way, the opportunity is still open as palm oil will continue to access the UK market regularly without too many trade barriers being imposed, which tend to happen in the EU for now,” he said.
Yusof said it is up to palm oil-producing countries to negotiate in the coming months or in the near term to ensure palm oil continues to enjoy market access in the UK.
“Palm oil in the UK is not sufficient for their daily consumption and biofuel requirements, and therefore, they have regularly imported about half of million tonnes per year, so this is opportunity for us,” he added.