The Oil Palm The Oil Palm

Important Statement from Malaysian Government: EU Must Drop Deforestation Criteria Proposal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – 5th February 2019. Today, Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries, Ms. Teresa Kok, urged the European Union to drop the Delegated Act, or Deforestation Criteria.

  1. The EU Commission is considering defining Palm Oil as “High Risk” in a Delegated Act due to be released this month. To be clear: the Malaysian Government considers that labelling Palm Oil as “High Risk” is a Ban on Palm Oil, and a “Phase Out” of Palm Oil is also a Ban.
  2. Minister Kok stated, “It is highly advisable for the European Union to abandon the Delegated Act, or Deforestation Criteria. Failing to do so will put at risk its relations with ASEAN. The measure is targeted discrimination against Malaysia and our neighbours, and violates international trading rules. The Malaysian Government has signaled its willingness to lay down retaliatory measures targeting European products and key industrial exports, including luxury brands and manufactured goods.”
  3. Europe and ASEAN have a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship. The Deforestation Criteria is a direct attack on this relationship, and demonstrates contempt for international trading rules. It is for these reasons that Malaysia – and others – did not support upgrading the EU-ASEAN relationship to a “Strategic Partnership” during the recent EU-ASEAN Ministerial in Brussels, and why Malaysia did not sign the Partnership Cooperation Agreement – the process to kick-start FTA talks – with the European Union.
  4. Moreover, in recent weeks, Europe has agreed to declare U.S. soya sustainable in a deal with U.S. President Trump. Malaysia expects the European Union to table the same deal for Malaysian Palm Oil, and will accept nothing less.
  5. Minister Kok challenged European leaders and the European Commission to do the right thing, “Malaysia will not support ASEAN upgrading its relationship with Europe until Europe provides Palm Oil producing countries, and Malaysia, with the same deal as they have given to the American soya industry, and publicly drops the Deforestation Criteria.”
  6. Minister Kok ended by stating, “Malaysia has been clear, led by Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, that we will oppose any discrimination against palm oil, and that any attacks that harm our palm oil sector will be met with a response. Malaysia reserves the right to respond to this aggression in both domestic and international forums, including like-minded legislation targeting European exports, as well as initiate formal WTO Dispute proceedings against the EU.”


The Oil Palm The Oil Palm

ICYMI: Malaysian Prime Minister Sends Warning to Europe over Palm Oil

Pressure is building on Brussels and Paris to abandon anti-Palm Oil legislation or risk a crisis in EU-ASEAN relations

Reuters reports the Malaysian Government has not ruled out retaliatory trade sanctions against French exports should France implement the ban on Palm Oil biofuels.

In the letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warns the French President that Malaysia will consider imposing trade restrictions on French exports to Malaysia, as well as suspend EU-Malaysia free trade negotiations, should the French actions against Palm Oil come into force.

The Prime Minister’s letter comes as Brussels’ ASEAN strategy is in deep crisis following last week’s EU-ASEAN Ministerial, which resulted in a failure to upgrade the EU-ASEAN relationship to a “Strategic Partnership” and a failure to sign the EU-Malaysia Partnership Cooperation Agreement – the process to kick-start FTA talks.

The growing tensions are escalating as Brussels considers imposing a Delegated Act, or Deforestation Criteria, against Palm Oil after years of European governments funding a black campaign against Palm Oil. Palm Oil producing countries consider the Deforestation Criteria to be a colonial action that is in violation of WTO law, scientifically flawed and fatally undermines Europe’s claim that it seeks a constructive trading partnership with ASEAN.

Reuters writes:

“Malaysia will consider laws to restrict imports of French products if Paris does not withdraw plans to curb the use of palm oil in biofuels, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Failing in that mutual respect will force Malaysia to look at actions, including, but not limited to, suspension of EU-Malaysia free trade talks and the imposition of like-minded legislation against French exports,” Mahathir said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

“France’s move could lead to “regrettable economic and trade consequences” for Malaysian exporters of palm oil and French exporters, Mahathir said.

Read the full Reuters’ story here.

Faces of Palm Oil is a joint project of the National Association of Small Holders (NASH), the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (DOPPA), the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) that seeks to advocate on behalf of Malaysian small farmers. To learn more, visit

The Oil Palm The Oil Palm Unclassified

The WHO’s Rehash of Tired, Old and Debunked Claims against Palm Oil

Last week, the WHO affirmed why many countries have lost their trust in this once-vaunted multilateral institution. In an article in with WHO Bulletin – they rehashed tired, old and previously debunked claims against Palm Oil – to become a pawn in the global anti-Palm Oil Inc. crusade.

This is a sad but true indictment of the WHO.

Rather than engaging in a fulsome debate on saturated fats or asking European leaders why they have not followed the lead of the U.S. and completely eliminated trans fats from the processed food supply chain, the WHO chose to compare the Palm Oil industry to tobacco and alcohol. A claim that can be scientifically proven false.

This calls into question the institution, and its role as the global standard-bearer for public health.

For the authors, Sowmya Kadandale (UNICEF), Robert Marten (the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) & Richard Smith (College of Medicine and Health – University of Exeter). Richard Smith and his team are not newbies, leading a crusade funded by Wellcome, an “independent global charitable foundation”, with its POSHE (Palm Oil: Sustainability, Health and Economics) project aimed at imposing its colonial will on Palm Oil producing countries.

Here’s the facts Sowmya, Robert and Richard conveniently left out:

Myth #1 on Health: “link consumption of palm oil to increased ischaemic heart disease mortality, raised low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other adverse effects”

Fact: Palm Oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. It is 100% free of GMOs.

Studies have proven Palm Oil to have a neutral impact on cardiovascular health, neither increasing levels of good/bad cholesterol, similar to the impact of olive oil.

Institutions confirming these facts on Palm Oil and health include studies from respected institutions around the world – among them, the University of Cambridge (UK)[1], the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition (USA)[2], the French Food & Health Foundation (France)[3], and the Mario Negri Institute (Italy)[4].

Myth #2 on Health: “Estimations suggest that more than two-thirds of the palm produced goes to food products, making the processed food industry’s relationship with the palm oil industry critical…an increase in the use of palm oil as a potential replacement for TFA in ultra-processed foods could be anticipated”

Fact: This is again another hypocrisy from the WHO. WHO previously took the stance of confirming Palm Oil as a positive alternative to dangerous trans fats. It has now backpedaled, criticizing its uptake.

Palm Oil is a healthy replacement for dangerous trans fats and the WHO, in its own 2018 recommendation, declared that it was a positive alternative to trans fats. Is WHO suggesting to revert back to more trans fats into processed food instead of having health alternatives such as Palm Oil?

Myth #3 on Environment: “Forest, peatland and biodiversity losses, increased greenhouse gas emissions and habitat fragmentation as well as pollution are environmental concerns continually linked to the palm oil industry”.

Fact: ‘Linked’ is a word used regularly by the WHO to insinuate an assertion that is not found in evidence. EU research proves that Palm Oil is not a major factor in global deforestation. In fact, livestock (beef) accounts for 10 times more deforestation than Palm Oil. Soy accounts for more than double.

Palm Oil is the world’s most efficient oilseed crop. When compared to other vegetable oils, Palm Oil consumes considerably less energy in production, using less land and generating more oil per hectare than other vegetable oils.

Other competitive oilseeds, such as rapeseed and sunflower, use respectively, five times the amount of pesticides compared to Palm Oil, and for sunflower 4 times more land to produce the same amount of oil.

Myth #4 on Sustainability: The Palm Oil industry “portrays its products as sustainable”

Fact: Yes, it does. Because Malaysian Palm Oil is sustainable. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in Palm Oil sustainability, and forest conservation more widely. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area. Malaysia maintains 54.9% of its land area under forest cover, which exceeds Malaysia’s commitment of 50% at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. This commitment has been recognized by the United Nations.

Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification will be made mandatory by December 2019. MSPO is based on ISO best-practices and addresses the environmental, social and economic aspects of Palm Oil production, cultivation and processing methods, protecting forests and wildlife, safeguarding workers’ welfare and safety and providing a living wage.

Malaysian Palm Oil already meets stringent certification measures around the world – including for access to the EU market.

Myth #5 on Small Farmers: The Palm Oil industry “uses poverty alleviation arguments”

Fact: Yes, this is correct. And here’s why:

Palm Oil is one of the most successful poverty alleviation tools in Malaysia, helping to reduce the country’s poverty rate from 50% after independence, to less than 5% today.

Pushing for a withdrawal from using Palm Oil, as the WHO is advocating, would lead to sentencing more than 650,000 Malaysian small farmers and their families, who are reliant on Palm Oil, to a life of poverty and prevent rural communities from achieving better health and life prospects. Goals which the WHO should encourage instead of condemning.

Is the WHO pro-poverty?


[1] University of Cambridge, [1] Chowdhury et al:

[2] The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? Arne Astrup, Jørn Dyerberg, Peter Elwood, Kjeld Hermansen, Frank B Hu, Marianne Uhre Jakobsen, Frans J Kok, Ronald M Krauss, Jean Michel Lecerf, Philippe LeGrand, Paul Nestel, Ulf Risérus, Tom Sanders, Andrew Sinclair, Steen Stender, Tine Tholstrup, and Walter C Willett

[3] FFAS Report:

[4] Fattore & Fanelli, Mario Negri Institute:

The Oil Palm The Oil Palm Unclassified

Malaysia Preps for WTO Fight Over Palm Oil

The Malaysian Government has posted an aggressive response to the EU’s revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED) at the World Trade Organization.

Malaysia’s representatives circulated their response to all WTO members in December following the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee meeting in November.

The response highlighted a number of points in particularly strong language, and made clear that the government of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad now intends to take a more aggressive approach in response to EU attacks against Palm Oil exports.

First up was indirect land-use change (ILUC).

“… the indirect land use change methodology is a debatable pseudoscience modelling approach, and it is not a recognised international standard. Indirect land use change cannot be measured but is based on many assumptions which resulted in uncertainties and controversial outcomes. For that reason, Malaysia seeks clarification from the European Union on the adoption of such questionable methodology as part of the RED II for implementation post 2020.”

The Government’s points follow long-standing criticisms of ILUC as a methodology. These criticisms have at times come from the EU’s own commissioned studies on ILUC.

Second is the way in which the EU has handled its approach to informing fellow WTO members about the forthcoming regulations, and the fact that the WTO’s TBT agreement requires members to inform other members of any measure that might impact trade that isn’t based on an international standard.

The EU hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about how it will approach ILUC. We suspect that this is in part due to the revised RED itself. What a regulation based on ILUC will look like is uncertain, although we do know that it will be contained within a Delegated Act drafted by the EU Commission. Separating ‘high risk’ and ‘low risk’ ILUC commodities – which is the stated aim of DG Energy in preparing the Delegated Act – is something that has never been attempted before.

Third, Malaysia points out that the ILUC methodology is likely to be ‘more trade restrictive than necessary’. This is a crucial point when it comes to technical regulations – and other measures – in the WTO.  Governments are permitted to introduce measures that seek to introduce technical  benchmarks, protect the environment or human health, but these measures need to actually solve the problem and not simply be used as a tool to restrict trade.

Fourth, Malaysia points out the critical relationship that Palm Oil plays in poverty alleviation and livelihoods in Malaysia, with around 40 per cent of cultivated area being held by small farmers.

This leads into Malaysia’s broader commitments to sustainable development under the Sustainable Development Goals under the UN, as well as the country’s domestic goals. This includes, among other things, supporting more than 650,000 smallholders, maintaining 50 per cent forest cover throughout the country, and commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The significance of the Malaysian communication is twofold.

First, not just that it was raised at the TBT meeting, but also that Malaysia is being unrelenting in maintaining pressure on the EU.

This is the third time that Malaysia has raised this point within the TBT since the revised RED was passed by the European Parliament, and it is also the third occasion on which the EU has not been forthcoming with details on RED implementation.

In continually raising the problem, Malaysia is also ensuring and galvanising opposition from other Palm Oil producing countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and African nations. In addition, raising the issue will also ensure the support of countries that produce soy-based biodiesel such as Argentina, which has also found itself at the wrong end of EU biofuels policy.

For all of these countries, it is readily apparent that the ‘deforestation criteria’ being proposed by the EU are arbitrary and political. Singling out an entire crop such as oil palm under these criteria regardless of its environmental, legal or social context indicates how political the process is.  Put another way: why should palm plantations that were established 30 years ago be considered as ‘high risk’ under the criteria? For Malaysia, and all palm exporting countries, ‘high risk until proven otherwise’ is unacceptable.

Second, the communications call into question the consultation processes undertaken by the EU to engage with the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to date.

Malaysian officials have met with EU officials in Geneva, Brussels and KL in order to ensure that the EU has the absolute clearest picture on Malaysian Palm Oil. This includes ensuring that European officials understand clearly that Malaysian Palm Oil shouldn’t be considered ‘high risk’ under the RED’s Delegated Act, particularly given the mandatory nature of MSPO.

Malaysia is now keenly aware that the EU is in the process of certifying US soybean exports as ‘low risk’ for the RED. This is taking place under the auspices of the US Soybean Sustainability Assurance scheme. The optics here are simple: the EU is giving US soybean a free pass while regulating Palm Oil out of the market.

The ongoing silence of the EU in the WTO calls the EU’s consultations with Malaysia into question. Were these good faith negotiations or was the EU simply going through the motions?

The next TBT meeting is in March, and Malaysia will have even more to object to then, including France’s new finance bill, which openly discriminates against Palm Oil. As trade officials say, “We look forward to the response of the EU.”

The Oil Palm The Oil Palm

ICYMI: Leader of the ‘Malaysian Armada’, the Bersatu Youth Party, Urges Boycott of EU Products following Europe’s Black Campaign against Palm Oil

Malaysian Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has called for a ban on EU products, vowing to hold EU accountable for its long-standing anti-Palm Oil campaign.

Minister Syed Saddiq, in addition to his government post, is the leader of Armada – the youth wing of Bersatu, the Malaysian political party led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The intervention is the second time in the space of a few days that the Malaysian Government has signaled trade retaliation may be in the cards following the latest attempts by the EU Commission, and by France’s National Assembly, to restrict palm oil exports.

Malaysian Primary Industries Ms Teresa Kok has said of the recent efforts to ban Palm Oil in France:

“I appeal to the French authorities to reconsider this anti-palm oil vote or be ready to face retaliatory actions on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations from all palm oil producers”.

A report released last summer found banning Palm Oil biofuels will place European jobs at risk if palm oil producing countries impose trade restrictions. Negative effects on the EU include:

  • At least EUR 2 billion in annual trade exports to southeast Asia would be at risk.
  • Europe’s top five economies – Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Spain – stand to lose nearly 13,000 jobs.
  • Industries including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electronics and automobiles would suffer from reduced exports to southeast Asian markets.

Read more on the #BangunFELDA movement, here.

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ICYMI: Malaysian Government Indicates Norway’s Anti-Palm Oil Campaign ‘Certainly Not Something We Will Take Lightly’

Malaysia’s Minister of Primary Industries Ms Teresa Kok has condemned Norway’s ongoing campaign against Palm Oil and against the Norwegian Parliament’s erroneous decision to limit and phase out Palm Oil biofuels.

The Malaysian Government warned that the Norwegian Parliament’s decision to ban Palm Oil biofuels goes against fair and free trade, and will adversely affect Malaysia-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) trade negotiations, which includes Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking has said while EFTA negotiations are ongoing, Malaysia wishes to “understand Norway’s act of condemning Malaysia’s palm oil” and would welcome the opportunity to “meet them [Norwegian leaders] and explain the real situation how we sustainably operate the palm oil industry”.

This measure places a discriminatory and illegitimate label on Malaysian Palm Oil as ‘unsustainable’, despite Malaysia’s leading commitment to Good Agricultural Practices, sustainable development, and its forest conservation efforts to maintain over 50 per cent forest cover.

Minister Teresa Kok said:

 “The stand taken by Norway against palm oil will adversely affect bilateral trade relations between Malaysia and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that includes Norway, and would be a major obstacle towards a successful conclusion of the Malaysia EFTA partnership talks.

 “This sort of action smacks of injustice and discrimination against products from developing countries like Malaysia. As a responsible producer of palm oil, we have already set in motion various initiatives to ensure sustainable practices are the norm rather than the exception, throughout the palm oil value chain.

 The Malaysia EFTA partnership agreement must provide fair market access to all of the countries involved, including fair treatment of sustainable palm oil which is produced in Malaysia. Without this fair market access, it will not be in the interest of Malaysia to pursue what will be a bad deal for the country and its people, particularly our 650,000 oil palm smallholders whose livelihood is at stake.”

Read the Minister’s full statement, here.

Read more on Minister Datuk Darell Leiking’s comments, here.

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ICYMI: Malaysian Government Signals Trade Retaliation Following French Decision to Exclude Palm Oil Biofuels

Malaysia’s Minister of Primary Industries Ms. Teresa Kok has condemned the French National Assembly’s vote to exclude Palm Oil biofuels as “unwarranted and unjust”. The decision threatens the livelihoods of over 650,000 Malaysian small farmers who rely on palm oil to provide for their families.

The proposal by the French National Assembly is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government that they wouldn’t discriminate against Palm Oil.

Additionally, the ban on Palm Oil biofuels will threaten French exports to Asia and hurt diplomatic relations between France and Palm Oil-producing countries.

Minister of Primary Industries Ms. Teresa Kok stated:

“This is a most unwelcomed decision and goes against the very principles of free and fair trade. The vote by the Parliamentarians is alarming and deserves the strongest condemnation.

“Their action to ultimately exclude the usage and importation of palm oil as part of the approved renewable energy mix could consequentially affect our bilateral trade relations. Malaysia plans to protest strongly against this action and will also muster support from other key palm oil producers.

“I appeal to the French authorities to reconsider this anti-palm oil vote or be ready to face retaliatory actions on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations from all palm oil producers”.

Read the Minister’s statement in full, here.

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ICYMI: Malaysian Prime Minister: Discrimination Against Palm Oil is Anti-Trade

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is sending a clear message to Europe: Palm Oil is not ‘risky’, and any discrimination by the EU against Palm Oil is unacceptable under global trade rules.

At the 33rd ASEAN Summit, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad raised the issue of EU discrimination against Palm Oil directly, as reported in Malaysian Reserve:

“Free trade can’t happen if certain parties continue to label Malaysia’s palm oil, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Malaysian leader uses the Asean Summit to criticise countries that are trying to outlaw the country’s main commodity.

The palm oil industry had also claimed that other seed oil producers are backing the lobbyists to protect their exports.”

The Prime Minister went on to highlight that Malaysia’s record at forest protection and environmental conservation is far superior to Europe’s, sending the message that the attacks against Malaysia are unjustified and baseless:

“Dr. Mahathir had said before that Europe should look at the destruction of their forests before pointing fingers at countries like Malaysia”

The EU continues to pursue Free Trade Agreements with ASEAN nations, including Malaysia. It should be clear now to EU negotiators – if it was not already – that such agreements can only be successful if the EU demonstrates respect and non-discrimination towards ASEAN commodities.

Read more in Malaysian Reserve, here.

The Oil Palm The Oil Palm

EU Hypocrisy On Peat

The EU delegation visiting Malaysia last week had Peatlands at the top of the agenda.  Why? They intend for Peatlands to be a key part of the checklist in the forthcoming EU Deforestation Criteria for biofuels, under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

There is a significant change between the 2009 RED text and the revised version that was agreed upon by the EU’s lawmaking bodies in July. So what’s the difference?

In the original RED, as with forests, a conversion date for biofuel feedstock was in place for Peatlands. To recap, if Peatland is converted or drained for biofuel production after January 2008, that feedstock is banned from accessing the RED.

The revised RED changes this, but only slightly. In addition to the 2008 cut-off, it states that feedstocks will only be acceptable if: “the country in which forest biomass was harvested has national and/or sub-national laws applicable in the area of harvest as well as monitoring and enforcement systems in place ensuring that … areas designated by international or national laws or by the relevant competent authority for nature protection purposes, including in wetlands and peatlands, are protected.”

It also states that if those laws aren’t in place, a management system protecting those functions will be acceptable.

The real change, however, is in the planned introduction of ‘risky’ criteria for high carbon stock areas, which includes Peatland areas. This is currently being discussed by the EU Commission, with a report out in February that will be sent to the EU Parliament and Council for approval.

This process is based on the RED compromise text, agreed in July, which states that if considerable expansion of a feedstock into a HCS area – which includes Peatlands – is observed, that feedstock will be considered as a high risk for indirect land-use change (ILUC).

This is how the EU will try to label all Palm Oil as ‘risky’ or ‘high risk’, even if the Palm Oil itself hasn’t come from Peatlands.

Is this going to be a problem for Malaysian Palm Oil?

It may well be. There has been expansion of oil palm on peat. But the compromise RED text isn’t clear on how it’s going to treat or certify feedstocks that it will consider low risk. For example, if there is expansion of Palm Oil on Peatland in one country, does that mean that Palm Oil from another country gets tarnished with the same brush?

It’s absolutely vital that the Deforestation Criteria that are currently being developed by the EU don’t undermine countries, companies and jurisdictions that are absolutely doing the right thing.

The EU delegation needs to bear in mind that South East Asia is not the only region where Peatland is a historic – and current – source of energy, sustenance and commerce. The EU needs to be wary about its own active use of Peatlands, for the scent of hypocrisy is in the air.

As has been pointed out on The Oil Palm previously, there are a couple of myths surrounding peat and emissions.

The first is that peat emissions only occur in ASEAN. False.

As one German group notes, “From drainage alone, the EU’s peatland-related emissions – amounting to about 270 Mt CO2-eq. per year – are second only to Indonesia’s.” Note: this means that, according to the German study, the EU’s peat emissions are higher than Malaysia.

Other studies confirm that the European Union has relatively high levels of emissions from degraded peat. The most comprehensive study considers the European Union to be the second-highest source of Peatland degradation emissions.

The study confirms the “EU as a source of carbon dioxide emissions from peatlands drainage that it is largely due to agriculture and forestry”.  The largest emissions come from Finland (50 million tons), Germany (32 million tons) and Poland (24 million tons).  In combination, these are significantly larger than Malaysia’s (48 million tons), according to the study.

In Germany, there has been considerable expansion of corn for biogas since the introduction of both German renewables subsidies and the RED.

The second myth is that Peatland emissions only occur when Peatland is drained.  Peat degradation emissions take place when Peatlands are used for agriculture. This is widespread around the world – including in the European Union.

In Germany around“7.3 per cent of agricultural land is peatland – but this is responsible for more than 30 per cent of agriculture emissions in Germany”. EU-wide, it is estimated that peat is responsible for 90 per cent of the EU’s agricultural soil-based emissions.

It is also the case that Peatlands are being used in Germany to grow maize, which is then used as a feedstock for biogas.

The debate around Peatland and biofuels isn’t as simple as stopping the conversion of Peatlands. Ultimately, this debate is about the desire of many in Europe to stop imports of Palm Oil. If Peatlands are included as a specific criterion in the EU’s Deforestation Criteria, that will be a signal, as clear as day, that the peat issue is being weaponised simply to justify new restrictions on Palm Oil. Any such Deforestation Criteria should be viewed for what it is: disguised discrimination against the developing world and a de facto violation of trade rules.

The EU needs to be called out for its sheer hypocrisy. It is disingenuous for the EU to claim that any restrictions on Palm Oil would be justified because of Peatland emissions or expansion. If that claim is made, it should be seen for what it is: not a statement of policy, but a means to an end (the EU’s stated end-goal to ban Palm Oil biofuel imports).

The EU delegation will no doubt be asking questions about peat. Upon returning from Malaysia to Brussels, Berlin, London and elsewhere in Europe, they would be well-advised to ask questions in those capitals, too. Anything else would be pure discrimination.

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ICYMI: French Government Supports EU Trade Ban Against Palm Oil

In the wake of the French Government Spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux publicly stating that the “fight/combat against Palm Oil will be the roadmap” for newly appointed Deputy Environment Minister Emmanuelle Wargon, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry effectively confirmed that France is indeed supporting the EU’s ongoing discriminatory campaign against Palm Oil.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed that the French National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation prioritises “deforestation and climate change” and claims that “palm oil can lead to significant direct and indirect deforestation when its production fails to meet certain sustainability criteria”.

This is all a clear signal of intent towards Palm Oil and echoes previous sentiments raised by EU Ambassadors in South East Asia confirming the intentions of the EU towards Palm Oil.

It seems as if the EU has made up its mind in regards to the treatment of Palm Oil imports, and that the political decision has been taken to discriminate against Palm Oil. This raises further questions: is the ongoing EU Delegation visit to Malaysia only a fig leaf, while back in Brussels the EU presses ahead towards new restrictions on Palm Oil?