COWI: Noting the Political Sensitivities

In our series of blogs on the COWI report assessing proposals to reduce deforestation, a clear underlying theme has been how the report ignores the political sensitivities that drive European policymaking. These politics are inextricably linked with how commodities are treated in Europe. In short, commodities from the developing world suffer and those from the rich world prosper under EU regulation. This has uncomfortable echoes of past colonial policies, designed Read More

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COWI’s Focus on Technical Assistance

The COWI report puts an emphasis on providing technical assistance to smallholders and farmers in developing countries in order to improve sustainability efforts and, where possible, reduce levels of deforestation and degradation.  This is arguably the strongest recommendation put forward by COWI.  But what should this kind of technical assistance actually look like?

There are several parts to this question.

The first is who should be paying for this from … Read More

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The Risks of (dis)information Campaigns

The European Commission recently proposed a number of policy measures aimed at tackling deforestation in developing countries. The EC commissioned a European consultancy, COWI, to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of these policies. One such policy was the idea of ‘awareness campaigns’. COWI considered this to be a feasible, low-risk strategy. In fact, the opposite is true.  These are simply disinformation campaigns funded by Europeans taxpayers for the benefit of … Read More

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Facts vs the European Parliament: COWI experts rebuke MEPs’ attacks on Palm Oil

In our ongoing look at the recent Report by COWI on deforestation proposals – a Report requested and funded by the EU Commission – we now look at how the Report uses data to analyse the default EU orthodoxy on Palm Oil – specifically the April MEP Resolution on Palm Oil & Deforestation.

The European Parliament’s Resolution raised the ire of the world’s Palm Oil exporting nations, mostly because the … Read More

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ICYMI: Malaysia Condemns European Parliament’s Latest Vote to Ban Palm Oil Biofuels

Malaysia will take every necessary action to protect Palm Oil sector and small farmers

Following the vote in the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament, which moves Europe one step closer to banning Palm Oil biofuels, Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, issued a strongly worded statement stressing the Malaysian Government will take every necessary action required to protect the rights of Malaysia, the … Read More

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ICYMI: Post-Brexit, Malaysia Stands Ready to Work with the UK

Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, has written an op-ed for the UK Daily Telegraph, setting out the Malaysian Government’s position on opportunities for the Palm Oil industry, and for UK-Malaysia cooperation more generally, once the UK leaves the European Union.

The Minister’s op-ed criticises the current protectionist approach to Palm Oil in Europe, and expresses the importance of a positive and … Read More

ICYMI: Palm Oil & EU Trade – Malaysian Government Sets Out Its Position

The EU is facing questions this week about plans to ban Palm Oil biofuels, and other discriminatory restrictions placed on the Palm Oil sector.

Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, sent a clear message in an opinion editorial published in Euractiv. Read the Minister’s full op-ed online here.

Also this week – EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, was questioned by reporters … Read More

The EC’s Proposals on Deforestation (Part 2): The Bad Ideas

In our previous blog, we assessed the good proposals put forth in the COWI Report, commissioned by the EU. Now, we look at the bad elements of the COWI Report.

The bulk of the measures being proposed by the EU are demand-side measures. At the heart of this is shifting consumers away from palm oil and onto other alternatives, or shifting consumption to so-called sustainable products.

And this already presents … Read More

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EFSA Latest: Experts Speak Out Over European Science Alarmism

Members of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) met recently in Parma to discuss, among other items, EFSA’s recommendations for potential restrictions on 3-MCPD, a contaminant generated during processing of vegetable oils. The meeting was an important moment for Malaysian Palm Oil exporters, following over 12 months of negative media coverage in the wake of EFSA’s original report. The meeting focused on technical discussions around the impact of 3-MCPD, and … Read More

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The EC’s Proposals on Deforestation: The Good Ideas

In the next of our series on the EU’s plans to reduce global deforestation, we assess the policy proposals put forward in the recent COWI Report commissioned by the EU. Which proposals can be considered good?

There are 15 measures proposed. The COWI Report splits them up into supply-side and demand-side measures.

The ‘bad’ measures, which we will look at in the next blog, are largely demand-side measures. Why are … Read More

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