KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 Malaysia said on Wednesday
that its palm oil industry faces a "big challenge", after the
European parliament said in a non-binding resolution that only
environmentally sustainable palm oil can be imported into the
European Union after 2020.
Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister
Mah Siew Keong said the resolution is unfair as it specifically
targets palm oil and no other vegetable oil. The proposal calls
for a single Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) scheme for
Europe-bound palm oil exports to make sure that the oil is
produced using environmentally sustainable methods and prevents
"We are very disappointed. To me, the resolution is biased
and damaging to palm oil," Mah said at a news conference on
"I expected it to come because now the whole world is
talking about the environment and deforestation, but I still
think it is not fair to target only palm oil," Mah said.
The April 4 resolution seeks to establish a common EU
standard to boost efforts to stop palm oil from becoming the
cause of deforestation or exploitation of communities in
producing countries and phase out using vegetable oils that harm
the environment, according to an European parliament statement.
The resolution passed by a overwhelming vote of 640 to 18,
with 28 abstentions, the statement said.
The EU is Malaysia's second-largest export market,
accounting for 2,059,207 tonnes of palm oil products in 2016,
based on Malaysian Palm Oil Board data. Of the amount, 30
percent is used for biodiesel, Mah said.
India is currently Malaysia's largest palm oil market,
importing 2,825,840 tonnes last year, while China was the
third-largest buyer, taking 1,882,183 tonnes in 2016.
Mah said he has already written to EU Environment
Commissioner Karmenu Vella and has also been engaging with
European lawmakers on the issue.
"We plan to go to European parliament next month to give us
a chance to address the lawmakers (on) why we think this
resolution is not fair to palm oil," Mah said, adding that they
will at the same time engage other major importers such as China
to boost their palm oil uptake.
(Reporting by Emily Chow; Writing by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by