Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah confirms potential WTO challenge
Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, the country’s top diplomat, chastised Europe’s discriminatory tactics to ban palm oil biofuels from the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), as part of a bigger EU wide campaign to exclude palm oil from the EU market, in an interview with Bloomberg this week.
Minister Saifuddin Abdullah warns that the Malaysian Government is preparing for a long battle against the EU and will not hesitate to resort to trade retaliatory measures against EU products. A first warning was sent recently, when Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and his ASEAN colleagues did not support upgrading the EU-ASEAN Partnership to a “Strategic Partnership” last month during the ASEAN-EU Summit in Brussels.
“There is a real lobby against palm oil and it’s even likely that palm may eventually be excluded from any product or biodiesel sold in Europe, foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said in an interview on Tuesday.
“Several European countries are sympathetic toward Malaysia’s plight and the government is hopeful that it can win the battle for palm oil if the EU dispute is brought to the World Trade Organization, he said.
“For now, palm oil remains a key reason behind an impasse on trade agreements between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Saifuddin said. At a recent meeting in Brussels, ASEAN postponed a pact that would raise EU’s status to become a strategic dialogue partner, he said”