BANGI, Oct 22 — Although the world’s two largest palm oil producers, Indonesia and Malaysia, are working together to challenge the European Union’s Delegated Act through the World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Body, Indonesia says it is best for both countries to go to court separately.
Deputy minister for food and agriculture at the coordinating ministry for economic affairs, Musdhalifah Machmud, said: “We always discuss what we can communicate with the EU in terms of the WTO regulations, but in terms of going to court, we think that it is best for both countries to go separately but in the same communication.”
Speaking to reporters at the 1st Palm Oil Supply and Demand Outlook Conference, she said this would ensure a smooth process of negotiation as it involves international lawyers.
“If the lawyers are working in two countries they have to come to Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss the issue. So currently we are communicating with the lawyer and planning to go to the WTO as soon as possible.
“Early November the lawyer from the EU will come to Indonesia to have a discussion,” she said.
Musdhalifah said that the Indonesian government has developed the document of position to challenge the EU.
On June 10 this year, the EU Parliament passed the Delegated Act to restrict and ban palm oil biofuel by 2030.
The act is believed to be discriminatory against palm oil-producing countries.
Meanwhile, Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok in her speech said that the EU’s Delegated Act to limit palm oil’s use in biofuel would “continue to cast a bearish sentiment in the international palm oil market because of the negative publicity on palm oil and prices will be affected negatively”.
“Both Malaysia and Indonesia are committed to challenge the act by the end of this year,” she said.
Asked to comment on India’s Solvent Extractors’ Association’s advice to its members to restrain from buying palm oil from Malaysia and source it from Indonesia, Musdhalifah said: “As far as government-to-government communications, Indonesia hasn’t received any request from India concerning a change in tariffs on palm oil imports.”
This follows Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark at the 74th session of the General Assembly that “despite UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied,” and his call on India to “work with Pakistan to resolve this problem”.
Malaysian Palm Oil Board data shows that for the first nine months of 2019, the country exported 3.91 million tonnes of palm oil to India. — Bernama