As negotiators meet this week on a Malaysia-EU FTA, the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong sent a clear message to Brussels: an FTA is unlikely if Europe discriminates against Palm Oil.
“Malaysia’s free trade agreement talks with the European Union (EU) is not likely to conclude if Palm Oil continues to be discriminated with tariff and technical trade barriers, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said today.”
“If the EU continues to discriminate against Palm Oil, I think it would be very difficult to conclude the free trade agreement. We don’t want trade barriers to work against our Palm Oil exports.”
“If we need to proceed to the WTO, we will because the livelihoods of some five million smallholders cultivating oil palms, in this region, is at stake.”
Let’s be clear about what this means: should Brussels enact regulatory measures that either block or create unequal market access criteria for food and biofuels or establish standards that unfairly target Palm Oil based on environmental and health grounds, this will unravel any hopes and dreams Brussels may have about a free trade deal with one of South East Asia’s biggest economies. This only hurts European consumers and businesses who seek cheaper goods, and new markets for their goods.
Read the full article here: New Straits Times: Difficult to conclude FTA with EU if Palm Oil continues to be discriminated: Mah