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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