Categories
The Oil Palm

Malaysian Palm Oil Council Condemns Discriminatory Ban on Palm Oil in Tuscany Region

Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) condemns the vote in Tuscany’s Regional Council in favour of a discriminatory ban removing palm oil products from public tenders. The proposed ban was passed thanks to votes from Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party, despite the proposal having zero scientific or environmental evidence behind it.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“The decision by Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party to support the misleading campaign conducted by the 5 Star Movement against palm oil is offensive to over 1 million Malaysians who rely on the palm oil sector. The motion is based on untrue and unscientific allegations that have consistently been proven to be factually wrong by multiple researchers, academics and experts worldwide.  

“The motion bizarrely attacks Malaysia as one of the worst polluters in the world after the US and China. This is completely false and is disproved by all credible international organisations.  The Tuscany Regional Council is not one of those credible international organisations. Malaysia has a proven track record on efficient land use and forest conservation, as recognised at the highest level by the United Nations. Italy’s emissions are, in fact, higher than Malaysia’s.

“It is extremely disappointing to see Prime Minister Renzi’s Democratic Party blindly following 5 Star Movement.

“The Italian Government should condemn this unfriendly act against Malaysia, and the 300,000 small farmers for whom palm oil is the source of income and poverty alleviation. Malaysia and Italy benefit from a strong friendship and growing trade links that could be undermined by such unprofessional and inaccurate allegations.”

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of palm oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of palm oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all oil palm plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The palm oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in Italy

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, Palm Oil contributes substantially to the Italian economy. 18,000 jobs in Italy are dependent on Palm Oil imports; Palm Oil contributes 361m EUR in tax revenue to Italy; and over 1.53bn EUR in Italian GDP is attributed to Palm Oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land area as forest – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including palm oil) and forest protection. Palm oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats, in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts across Europe and worldwide confirm the many benefits of palm oil, and that the level of consumption in Europe is perfectly normal. Institutions confirming these facts on palm oil and health include studies from the University of Cambridge; the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition; the French Food & Health Foundation; and the Mario Negri Institute in Milan.

 

Categories
The Oil Palm

Bad Swiss Timing on Palm Oil Harms Trade Prospects

A bizarre decision by a local school board in Switzerland could have significant ramifications for a trade deal between some non-EU European countries and Malaysia. The Italian Swiss Canton School Board has decided to ban palm oil from public schools, in a knee-jerk response to some anti-palm oil campaigns. That the decision has no scientific rationale behind it whatsoever should be one concern – not to mention that it will restrict consumer choice for no good reason. On a bigger scale, such discrimination against imported products (in this case palm oil) could have negative ramifications not just for Switzerland, but for its trading partners also.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an association comprising Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland: countries who are all outside of the EU, but club together on some areas such as trade policy.

Negotiations for a trade deal between EFTA and Malaysia has been underway since 2012, and have made steady progress – the most recent round of talks was held in Geneva earlier this year. As a relatively small country, trade agreements are critical for Switzerland – as they can increase investment, generate new export markets and reduce the costs of imported goods.

Malaysia’s biggest single export, globally, is palm oil. And yet the Italian Swiss Canton has implemented discriminatory bans on this export. Such a ban would clearly be fundamentally incompatible with any EFTA-Malaysia trade agreement. Unless the ban is rescinded (no sign yet of that happening), this action by a tiny, uninformed minority will negatively cloud future trade negotiations for the whole of EFTA.

EFTA Governments will do well to take note – because this is not just about Malaysia. Indonesia is the world’s other large palm oil exporter. Trade between EFTA nations and Indonesia is rising fast, and although trade talks are on hold, this may change now that Indonesia has also opened new trade talks with the European Union. A basic rule in trade policy is try not to insult your trading partners’ culture or products. The Italian Swiss Canton just did that, for two major trading partners.

Such retribution – from the EU, Malaysia or anyone else – would clearly harm Switzerland, and potentially other EFTA countries as well. The last time there were serious anti-palm oil moves in Switzerland was in 2012 when a little-known MP Dominique de Buman, called for palm oil to be banned. His attempt was overwhelmingly rejected by his better-informed colleagues.

Anti-palm oil literature is available, in Switzerland and elsewhere. The Italian Swiss Canton needs to learn that the answer is not to give in to siren calls – but rather to look at the facts; examine the science; balance the benefit or cost to the wider economy. Over $1bn of Swiss exports went to Malaysia and Indonesia in 2014, according to EFTA. That $1bn represents jobs and companies across Switzerland that would benefit from increased trade with those nations. Jobs and companies that would be harmed if the trade deal cannot be completed. The Canton’s actions against palm oil have already cost Switzerland credibility in South-East Asia, and may yet cost more than that.

Categories
The Oil Palm

The Next Palm Oil Challenge in France

Every year since 2012, Socialist Party politicians in France often supported by the French Government have attempted to place a tax on Palm Oil products.

The most recent attempt was defeated in July 2016, thanks to a strong campaign from producing countries. However, French lawmakers have since announced that they will take two actions. First, they will re-examine taxation on all vegetable oils. Second, they will introduce a Sustainability Criteria Commission that will supposedly define criteria for the production of vegetable oil and other commodities.

This policy blog will focus on the Sustainability Criteria Commission, which should be of great interest to Palm Oil exporters across the globe. Why? Because Palm Oil producers have been down a similar path before.

When the European Union introduced the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) almost seven years ago, new sustainability criteria were associated with it. The justification being that this was required in order to prove that the biofuels were indeed environmentally beneficial.

But, as always, these processes are not independent. They are prone to politicisation and protectionism.

The RED scheme was a boon for biofuels producers – both European and non-European. However, better-value imports (notably Palm Oil) claimed a substantial share of this new market. European producers needed to find ways to keep imported biofuels out of the EU market.  They came up with multiple methods to fix the sustainability criteria so that it disadvantaged Palm Oil. These included gaming the ‘default values’ – which measure estimated GHG savings – in favour of domestic European oils, working with protectionist politicians to remove Palm Oil products from approved lists, and supporting introduction of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) criteria.

ILUC was a complex way of trying to exaggerate the emissions from biofuels based on numbers that were arbitrary and unprovable. In the end, it was rejected by the EU as simply unworkable.

The RED precedent is highly relevant, because the French Government’s planned new sustainability criteria for vegetable oils will allow the same protectionist, anti-Palm Oil traps to be set.

The sustainability criteria planned by France is much wider than just GHG emissions. It is likely to cover forest conversion, biodiversity, land use, social and political concerns, farming and conservation methods, supply chain traceability, as well as economic factors.

The Commission’s membership is also puzzling. The members have solid, and impressive expertise in French administration and politics, as well as long careers in related fields such as agriculture and environmental policy. However, there is a clear lack of expertise on economic development and broader sustainable development in the developing world. None of the members of the Commission have any significant expertise or experience in this area.

Given that the bulk of the world’s vegetable oil – Palm Oil and soybean oil – is produced in the Global South, shouldn’t that expertise be considered vital for determining the sustainability of those systems?

There is one fundamental reason why this needs to be the case: sustainability in the European context is often narrowly defined in environmental terms. The U.N. definition of sustainable development is clear that a broader understanding, including social and economic development, is required. The French Sustainability Criteria Commission currently is not set up to consider that broader definition.

This is not the only weakness of the Commission. The eventual recommendations will be turned into a de facto standard that can be used by France in its regulations and in restricting imports: this is apparently the purpose of the Commission. Given this, the Commission clearly also needs an expert on international standards and conformity. It does not currently have any.

That this technical expertise isn’t considered vital indicates that the process has already been politicised, and should be a major concern for Palm Oil producers. Compare the French process to RSPO, which is currently the largest international Palm Oil certification system.

The RSPO took years to develop. And it did so through a multi-stakeholder process that included producers, purchasers, processors and NGOs. RSPO isn’t perfect as a certification system, and it doesn’t follow best practice in terms of standards and conformity, but it does at the very least attempt to address the concerns of all major stakeholder groups through a structured process.

The French Sustainability Criteria Commission does not look like a serious attempt to deliver a credible sustainability recommendation. Methods for stakeholder input are yet to be made public. Valuable fields of expertise have been overlooked entirely.

Instead, the Sustainability Criteria Commission looks like a Potemkin process set up to justify a pre-determined outcome. The outcome being that Palm Oil imports to France will be restricted; and taxes on Palm Oil will rise. It will go through the motions – a trip to Malaysia and Indonesia is being planned, so that the Members can see the situation on the ground. No-one in those countries should be fooled. French Ministers have openly admitted they are seeking a new tax on Palm Oil: this Commission is simply the vehicle for them to deliver that goal.

But the impacts go beyond palm oil. This action should also be a broader concern for the EU’s trade directorate. Brussels gave France some warning over its last attempts to penalise palm oil. Will it do so again? It’s no secret that European trade policy is in disarray. The Commission has difficulty finalising trade agreements with Asian partners. Unilateral moves by member states will therefore make this even more difficult.  The EU is currently attempting to negotiate trade deals with Malaysia and Indonesia. France’s moves would undermine good-faith negotiation. It’s not just palm oil exporters that need to rein France in; Brussels needs to do the same thing.

Categories
Pierre Bois D’Enghien

RSPO: Room for improvement

RSPO is generally considered the ‘gold standard’ for palm oil certification. There are good reasons for this. The organisation and its processes have been in place for more than ten years. It has a broad range of stakeholder input. It has ‘brand recognition’ among producers, financial institutions, purchasers and other bodies.

But there is no doubt that the focus of the scheme is Southeast Asia. This isn’t surprising. Close to 90 per cent of the world’s oil palm is grown in Southeast Asia.  The scheme’s genesis came from concerns about the environment in that region.

This also means there is a level of antipathy – albeit unintended – to other parts of the world where oil palm is grown. Because of this, there are certain elements of RSPO that simply don’t work in other contexts.

Take, for example, RSPO’s criteria and indicators on natural pest control. They require the reduction or elimination of all pesticides that are classified under the heading ‘1A’ or ‘1B’ in terms of their toxicity by the World Health Organisation. They also require the same of any substances listed under the Rotterdam Convention.

Now look at blast disease, which affects oil palm crops – particularly pre-nurseries – in Africa. Blast disease is very destructive. A severe case in Ghana in 1994 decimated the GOPDC’s (Ghana Oil Palm Development Company) growing stock that year.  The only effective treatment of is the application is carbofuran (carbamate family). This is a pesticide that falls under the ‘1B’ classification (highly hazardous). It is toxic. But most parts of the world – with a few exceptions – permit its use. Those exceptions are the US, Canada, EU and a number of African countries that don’t grow oil palm at industrial level. It comes under the Rotterdam Convention requiring certain handling protocols – but this is not the same as a ban.

It is recognised as the only treatment for blast disease in oil palm by the International Fund for Agricultural Development – a United Nations Agency.

Leaving blast disease untreated can wipe out operations. One agricultural development program suspended loan repayments from farmers following a blast disease incident.

But because the disease – and the insect thought to carry it – aren’t prevalent in Southeast Asia, there’s no need to follow this treatment pathway.

The RSPO P&C state that “There is no prophylactic use of pesticides, except in specific situations identified in national Best Practice guidelines.” But prophylactic use is essential with blast; when soil moisture drops below a certain point, trees become susceptible, and national best practice guidelines don’t exist in most African countries.

The P&C also state that the organisation will “urgently” identify alternatives for these chemicals. But the fact is that there is no urgency outside of Africa.

This is something of a policy vacuum here. There’s no doubt that when the P&Cs were written, all the best intentions were there, whether it was the development of national guidelines and interpretations, or coming up with an alternative to carbofuran. But at this stage this is a problem that has fallen through the cracks.

Here’s an example of the dilemma. Carbofuran itself has been recommended as an alternative to other more toxic pesticides that are banned under the Stockholm Convention.

So what are farmers in Africa actually supposed to do?

The obvious pathways are to have national interpretations completed, or to develop national best practice guidelines. But this is easier said than done. This takes time and money and often requires a level of political and bureaucratic will that is often lacking.

What this particular gap underlines is that the principles of RSPO may have been put together in Singapore or Geneva, but they aren’t applicable to every context.

It also underlines the fact that sometimes the will and the financial means may be there to implement RSPO rules at the firm level, but at the national level it is not high on the list.

A ‘watering down’ of the principles and criteria on pesticides would not be acceptable. Perhaps, instead, it would be possible for RSPO to accept interim national interpretations, or accept national interpretations on specific issues.

Would this be possible? Under RSPO’s organisational rules it’s likely such a measure could work via a measure under the Board of Directors. It would also be likely to be subject to pushback from RSPO’s NGO members.

But what are the alternatives? Plantation developers are likely to go ahead and develop in Africa, regardless of whether certification is available. There are alternative means of financing. The market for vegetable oil in Africa is large and getting larger. This means that these operations will be subject to no RSPO rules.

One of the points that has been made about palm oil certification is that it is the only agricultural commodity with such widely accepted and high standards. No other crop has the same level of scrutiny. One of the dangers is that if the bar is set too high for many operations for palm oil, those who are able to access forest and land for plantation development will either develop or switch to another crop with low (or no) level of scrutiny whatsoever. Rules that RSPO has in place around high conservation value, conservation set-asides, etc. will be nowhere to be seen.

This can’t be an outcome that RSPO or NGOs will be happy with. This will mean worse environmental, social and economic outcomes across the board. In other words, a compromise isn’t just preferable, it’s necessary – particularly if the overall objective is ‘sustainability’.

Categories
The Oil Palm

The Oil Palm’s Q&A Series: Interview with Professor Pierre Garello

Pierre Garello is a Professor of Economics at Université Aix-Marseille in France. During the debate on the French Biodiversity Bill in 2016, Professor Garello presented a study on the Economic Facts About Palm Oil Taxation in France, outlining why a new Palm Oil tax was ‘factually and materially wrong’.

Q – French Senators put forward in early 2016 a proposal for an additional tax on Palm Oil. As an economist, what is your reaction to a plan to increase taxes on a food ingredient such as Palm Oil?

A- As a matter of principle I am sceptical of the new trend—in France and elsewhere—that consists in using taxation to change citizens’ behaviour. Many reasons for that. Firstly, economists have traditionally pushed in the opposite direction, namely, they usually advise governments to look for the most “neutral tax”; the tax that changes the decisions made by private economic actors as little as possible. This traditional position taken by economists comes from the fact that it is impossible to predict with a reasonable degree of accuracy the social outcome of specific taxes such as food taxes. Consumers and producers can decide to pay a higher price for the same product (so the behaviour remain unchanged but they buy less of other things), or to switch to another less-taxed good which (1) can be even worst in terms of food habits and (2) means no tax receipts. Secondly, such taxes rely on “scientific” assumptions such as “palm oil is bad for the environment,” “margarine is not as good as butter.” This is problematic because the Parliament is transformed in some sort of an academy of sciences that should decide on complex scientific issues. Needless to say that, in my opinion, our MPs do not have the required competencies. If, on the contrary, they say that each citizen must pay x euros to finance public goods there is no need to enter a tricky and muddled debate. Finally, even if this is not directly linked to economics, I see some danger in using taxes (and therefore coercion) to bring individuals’ behaviour towards what a majority of citizens judges “proper behaviour”. This is not my understanding of a democracy.

Q – As the debate was ongoing in the French Parliament over the Palm Oil tax proposal, you provided a report on the Economic Facts about Palm Oil taxation in France. Can you explain to us your findings and methodology?

A- The proposed amendment created an additional contribution on palm oil set at 30 Euros per ton in 2017, 50 Euros in 2018, 70 Euros in 2019 and 90 Euros in 2020. This rate would have then increased on January 1 of each year starting 1 January 2021, depending on the forecasted evolution for consumer prices. The tax was to be applied to palm oil only and not competing oils. This proposal for a new palm oil tax was backed with various arguments that were dubious or plainly wrong. My report focuses on the Parliamentarians’ claim regarding the “tax advantage” that the present regulation would be giving to Palm oil. According to them, Palm oil would presently benefit from a  favourable tax treatment than almost any other vegetable oil. This statement is plainly wrong. The mistake (whether or not it is a voluntary one is an open question) comes from the fact that the Senators use so-called “excise duty tables” to compare the taxes on different oils. Now, excise duties are traditionally given in euros per ton and if you look at those tables you note indeed that olive oil is taxed twice more heavily than rapeseed and almost twice as much as palm oil. But do those comparisons have any economic meaning? The answer is a resounding “no”. From an economic point of view what makes sense is not the duties paid per ton of vegetable oil but instead the relative weight of taxation in the market price of those oils. When you buy a Ferrari you don’t inquire about the tax per ton; what is economically meaningful is the sales tax (or VAT tax). What would appear unfair to many would precisely be to tax all cars according to their weight since the owner of a Ferrari would in that case pay probably less tax than the owner of a poor quality car. So what I did in the report is simply to translate this excise duties table where taxes are given in euros per ton into the equivalent ad valorem rates that have a clear economic meaning. And the results are completely at the opposite of what the Senators claimed: Palm oil is already taxed much more heavily than most of its competitors. Let me be more precise. Because the market price of olive oil is extremely high (3,852 euros per ton) an excise duty of 189 euros per ton means that the economic rate at which olive oil is taxed is as low as 4.9%. Let us compare with Palm oil. The excise duty on palm oil is at 103 euros per ton but the market price for one ton of Palm oil is 478 euros (December 2015). So, the economic rate at which palm oil is taxed is 23.64%. Between four and five times more than olive oil! So, where is the unfair tax advantage given to palm oil by French law? There is clearly no such advantage and if the amendment had been voted the situation would have been worst with Palm oil taxed up to 209.7% by 2020.

Q – What is your opinion on the arguments that were put forward by Green Senators to justify such a tax on Palm Oil?

A- My report leaves largely aside the questions of the impact of the Palm Oil industry on the environment and of palm oil consumption on health. For having worked some years ago on similar issues I am, however, very skeptical about many claims put forward by the Senators on those questions. What is remarkable anyway in this story is that their claim that “palm oil’s competitive advantage is based only on the fact that the cost of health and environmental damage it causes is outsourced and supported by the community” is backed by absolutely no reference to any study or research. We (at least the Parliamentarians who have to vote the amendment) are asked to take their claim as an obvious truth; as something beyond any doubt. Hence, potentially, an industry—palm oil—will be destroyed or at least badly damaged without the authors of the amendment and Parliamentarians in general providing any solid justification for their decision. As I said, don’t ask Parliamentarians to replace the academy of sciences otherwise you will face troubles! A serious argumentation would for instance tell us—or at least try to evaluate—what will replace palm oil if palm oil production were to fall; where would it be produced, how much land that would require, etc. But none of that is offered.

Q – After many months of intense debate, the French Palm Oil tax was withdrawn by the Government. Do you agree with this decision?

A – Yes, I think it was a wise decision. I also remember that during some of the discussions they were refining somehow their approach by starting to distinguish between various types of culture. This was going in the right direction in the sense that it shows some awareness of the fact that it is very difficult to assess the global impact of any economic activity on the environment.

It’s important to realise that this is not the end of the discussion. The plans to tax palm oil are still underway in Paris, and they will come back in a different form. Unfortunately, the same lack of proper economic and scientific understanding may also be present.

Q – On 23 June 2016, during the National Assembly plenary debate on the Biodiversity Bill and while discussing the Palm Oil tax, MPs Hammadi and Louwagie informed the audience that they had finalised a report on the taxation of food products. Moreover, the French Government has decided to review taxation on all vegetable oils in the next 6 months. How do you see this going forward?

A – This is what I referred to about the tax coming back in a different form. Revising vegetable oils taxation is a good idea, as long as it is fair and just. However it seems the new proposal would be discriminatory from an economic perspective towards palm oil. It is very likely that the revision will have a chapter on oils that don’t respond to certain sustainability criteria will be subject to a tax. But, as I said, the question of sustainability is a complex one and it is to be feared that the outcome will be justified with weak scientific evidence, disproportionate, discriminatory and therefore unfair. This would lead to horrible consequences. First of all, it will potentially lead to price rises on food products for human consumption. These price rises are regressive and will hurt consumers all over France. Secondly, such a proposal will widen the gap with domestic oils that will be favoured even more by the tax system. This is a violation of both WTO and EU rules.

Moreover, the suggested approach from the MPs Louwagie and Hammadi report claims to be ‘simplifying the system’ by suppressing all taxation on vegetable oils. This will be compensated financially by a raise of the tax on sugary drinks and products. Vegetable oils taxation is complex and outdated, however, suppressing all vegetable oils will favour oils such as olive and rapeseed oils that are currently the lesser taxed oils on the market and are not used in the production of sugary drinks. The French government has indicated that it will set up International Sustainability standards for vegetable oils and will very likely tax those who don’t fit those ‘sustainable criteria’, which have yet to be defined. This will mark further regulation and protectionism for imported vegetable oils on the French market.

In any case, this shows that the industry and civil society should remain vigilant for this stubborn attempt to discriminate against palm oil. This approach could hurt everyone, from industry to consumers, and it will not necessarily be good news for the environment.

This new report and the proposed revision of the vegetable oils taxation will need to be watched very closely.

Categories
Pierre Bois D’Enghien

ICYMI: Why Palm Oil Taxes are Neither Effective nor Just

In an opinion editorial featured in Food Navigator, Belgian agronomist Pierre Bois d’Enghien writes about the ineffectiveness of the French Government’s attempt to tax Palm Oil, and why it shouldn’t be reintroduced within the upcoming revision of vegetable oils taxation.

Food Navigator: Why Palm Oil Taxes are Neither Effective nor Just

By Pierre Bois d’Enghien

The French government’s planned palm oil tax was withdrawn in the National Assembly in June as part of the revision of the biodiversity bill. The removal of the tax led to protests from Greens, but was supported by the palm oil sector. In my opinion removing the tax was the right thing to do. What is critical now is that President Hollande commits to not reintroducing the tax, or any other methods that would unjustly target palm oil.

‘First, any French tax on palm oil won’t address the actual causes of deforestation and environmental degradation. And nor can it. Oil palm doesn’t ‘cause’ deforestation.

‘Second, any palm oil tax won’t necessarily encourage certification at the producer end. Certification is expensive and it requires a significant investment on the part of producers.

‘Third, the law may encourage consumption of sustainable palm oil in France, but the bigger question is who gets to determine what ‘sustainable’ palm oil actually is?

 

Read full opinion editorial here.

Categories
The Oil Palm

Malaysian Palm Oil Council: End of the Road for French Palm Oil Tax

Kuala Lumpur (21 July 2016) – The proposed French Palm Oil tax has been definitively rejected, following the final decision by the French National Assembly yesterday.

The French Government, National Assembly, and Senate have now all confirmed the rejection of the Palm Oil tax. This decision is a strong statement towards strengthening the relations between France and Malaysia.

The French Government has stated that it will review the taxation of vegetable oils later this year. In this process, the French Government must not forget the decision made yesterday, and must uphold France’s commitment not to tax palm oil.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“The vote in the National Assembly Plenary confirms the withdrawal of the Palm Oil tax. 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia thank the French Government and MPs for rejecting this unfair and unjust tax.

“This has been a long and difficult process, but the correct decision has been made. Yesterday’s vote is an important recognition from France that Palm Oil should not be taxed. That principle must be respected in all future discussions.”

What Others Are Saying

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) commissioned an economic analysis, reported by Food Navigator, which demonstrated that no economic basis existed for the proposed Palm Oil tax. The report’s author, University of Aix-Marseilles Professor Pierre Garello, describes the claims in favour of the tax as “factually and materially wrong”.

Read the full article here. Read the full report here.

French experts, including Cécile Philippe from the Institut Economique Molinari, have pointed out the fact that no environmental case exists for taxing Palm Oil. Philippe writes in La Tribune, “Palm Oil is not the environmental monster that has been portrayed…it is impossible to show that this new tax increase would preserve the environment”.

Read the full article here.

Trade expert, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of the European Center for International Political Economy, has confirmed that the tax is illegal under WTO trade rules. Lee-Makiyama writes in Borderlex, “WTO rules have helped France to successfully repeal discriminatory taxes on France’s wines enacted in the name of ‘public health’. In the same manner that a WTO panel ruled in favour of French wines, it will also repeal a discriminatory Nutella tax”.

Read the full article here:

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of Palm Oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of Palm Oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all Palm Oil plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm Oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The Palm Oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in France

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, Palm Oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are dependent on Palm Oil imports; Palm Oil contributes 167m EUR in tax revenue to France; and over 323m EUR in French GDP is attributed to Palm Oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched, including France.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including Palm Oil) and forest protection. Palm Oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm Oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm Oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts in France and across Europe confirm that Palm Oil is safe. A study from the French Foundation for Food & Health, explained that Palm Oil is not hazardous, and the amounts consumed in Europe are perfectly normal.

Similarly, a study in 2014 from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authored by Drs Elena Fattore and Roberto Fanelli, confirmed this point. The study found no evidence that Palm Oil is harmful.

Categories
The Oil Palm

ANSA NEWS: Spread with most glycerol is not made with palm oil but sunflower

Test from German consumer association shows the problem is in refining.

ROME (ANSA) – The spread with the highest number of GE and 3-MCPD contaminants, does not contain palm oil but rather sunflower oil. GE is a substance with glycerol on which EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has recently published a study assessing the risks to public health. This finding in relation to sunflower oil is concluded by Stiftung Warentest, the main German consumers association, which, on the basis of a test, has shown that it is not palm oil that creates problems but the way in which vegetable oils are refined, whether they are sunflower, rapeseed or palm oil. According to the study conducted on a selection of the most famous spreads in the country, the one with the highest number of contaminants is called Nocciolata and is indeed made from sunflower and not palm oil. A child weighing 30 kg, according to the tests conducted by the Germans, would reach its tolerable daily dose of GE and 3-MCPD with just 4 grams of this product, while for adults the grams would increase to 8. On the eleven spreads analysed, including Nutella which ranks second after the Kaufland K-Classic Nussano in terms of fewer contaminants, the association noted that only two spreads do not contain palm oil. Finally, according to Stiftung Warentest, the contaminants can be reduced by improving food production, so much that in response to this study, Nocciolata’s manufacturer announced that it has already begun to change the refining process of its sunflower oil.

Categories
The Oil Palm

Malaysian Palm Oil Council: French Senators Confirm Rejection of Palm Oil Tax

Kuala Lumpur (13 July 2016) – The Malaysian Palm Oil Council congratulates French Senators who have confirmed the deletion of the discriminatory Palm Oil tax during the Senate Plenary session this week.

The French Government, National Assembly, and Senate have now all confirmed the rejection of the palm oil tax. This decision must be upheld, now and in the future.

The French Government has stated that it will review the taxation of vegetable oils, later in 2016. In this process, the French Government will need to respect the decision made yesterday. Palm oil must not be disadvantaged either in absolute or relative terms.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“The vote in the Senate Plenary confirms the French Government’s withdrawal of the palm oil tax. 300,000 small farmers in Malaysia, and many others, thank the Senators for rejecting this misguided and harmful tax.

“Today’s vote is an important recognition from France that palm oil should not be taxed. That principle must be respected in all future discussions. Malaysian small farmers’ voices need to be heard and their interests must be defended”

What Others Are Saying

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) commissioned an economic analysis, reported by Food Navigator, which demonstrated that no economic basis existed for the proposed Palm Oil tax. The report’s author, University of Aix-Marseilles Professor Pierre Garello, describes the claims in favour of the tax as “factually and materially wrong”.

Read the full article here. Read the full report here.

French experts, including Cécile Philippe from the Institut Economique Molinari, have pointed out the fact that no environmental case exists for taxing Palm Oil. Philippe writes in La Tribune, “Palm Oil is not the environmental monster that has been portrayed…it is impossible to show that this new tax increase would preserve the environment”.

Read the full article here.

Trade expert, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of the European Center for International Political Economy, has confirmed that the tax is illegal under WTO trade rules. Lee-Makiyama writes in Borderlex, “WTO rules have helped France to successfully repeal discriminatory taxes on France’s wines enacted in the name of ‘public health’. In the same manner that a WTO panel ruled in favour of French wines, it will also repeal a discriminatory Nutella tax”.

Read the full article here:

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of Palm Oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of Palm Oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all Palm Oil plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm Oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The Palm Oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in France

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, Palm Oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are dependent on Palm Oil imports; Palm Oil contributes 167m EUR in tax revenue to France; and over 323m EUR in French GDP is attributed to Palm Oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched, including France.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including Palm Oil) and forest protection. Palm Oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm Oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm Oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts in France and across Europe confirm that Palm Oil is safe. A study from the French Foundation for Food & Health, explained that Palm Oil is not hazardous, and the amounts consumed in Europe are perfectly normal.

Similarly, a study in 2014 from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authored by Drs Elena Fattore and Roberto Fanelli, confirmed this point. The study found no evidence that Palm Oil is harmful.

 

Categories
The Oil Palm

Malaysian Palm Oil Council: French Senate Committee Confirms Palm Oil Tax Withdrawal

Kuala Lumpur (6 July 2016) – The Malaysian Palm Oil Council congratulates the French Senators who have confirmed the deletion of the discriminatory palm oil tax during the Sustainable Development Committee meeting today, following the earlier rejection of the tax by the National Assembly in June.

The Senate will now have a chance to put an end to the palm oil tax campaign by confirming the deletion of the tax during its plenary session starting on Monday 11 July.

However, a new French threat to palm oil may be coming. Taxation on vegetable oils will be reviewed before the end of the year in a Finance Bill, as announced by the French Government. This new taxation review must respect and accept the decision not to tax palm oil: President Hollande cannot allow this to become a back-door tax on palm oil.

The CEO of MPOC, Dr Yusof Basiron, issued the following statement:

“The vote in the Senate Sustainable Development Committee confirms the French Government’s withdrawal of the palm oil tax.

“In rejecting this tax, Senators have publicly shown their support for Malaysian small farmers, and has avoided implementing a palm oil tax that infringes both WTO and EU trade rules. The Senate now needs to confirm their vote during next week’s plenary session.

“French politicians must now honour the pledges they made not to tax palm oil. This tax must be deleted for good: and not reintroduced later this year under a Finance Bill. To do so would be a betrayal of the French Government’s promises to palm oil small farmers throughout the developing world.” 

What Others Are Saying

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) commissioned an economic analysis, reported by Food Navigator, which demonstrated that no economic basis existed for the proposed palm oil tax. The report’s author, University of Aix-Marseilles Professor Pierre Garello, describes the claims in favour of the tax as “factually and materially wrong”.

Read the full article here. Read the full report here.

French experts, including Cécile Philippe from the Institut Economique Molinari, have pointed out the fact that no environmental case exists for taxing palm oil. Philippe writes in La Tribune, “Palm oil is not the environmental monster that has been portrayed…it is impossible to show that this new tax increase would preserve the environment”.

Read the full article here.

Trade expert, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of the European Center for International Political Economy, has confirmed that the tax is illegal under WTO trade rules. Lee-Makiyama writes in Borderlex, “WTO rules have helped France to successfully repeal discriminatory taxes on France’s wines enacted in the name of ‘public health’. In the same manner that a WTO panel ruled in favour of French wines, it will also repeal a discriminatory Nutella tax”.

Read the full article here:

Key Facts about Malaysian Palm Oil

Malaysia is the second-largest producer of palm oil, and a major exporter. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) represents the interests of palm oil growers and small farmers, in Malaysia.

40% of all palm oil plantations in Malaysia are owned or farmed by small farmers, who have benefited from oil palm cultivation. Palm oil has been a major factor in Malaysia reducing poverty from 50% in the 1960s, down to less than 5% today. The palm oil industry directly employs more than 570,000 people, with another 290,000 people employed downstream.

Economic Impact of Palm Oil in France

According to respected economic analysts Europe Economics, palm oil contributes substantially to the French economy. 4,600 jobs in France are dependent on palm oil imports; palm oil contributes 167m EUR in tax revenue to France; and over 323m EUR in French GDP is attributed to palm oil imports.

Environment

The allegation that Malaysia is deforesting and destroying biodiversity is inaccurate. The Malaysian Government has committed to protecting at least 50% of land as forest area – a bold and far-sighted environmental commitment that no other country has matched, including France.

This commitment by Malaysia has been recognized by the United Nations and the World Bank. Malaysia is a recognized world-leader in forest protection.

Malaysia is committed to a balanced policy that allows for both land development for agriculture (including palm oil) and forest protection. Palm oil covers just 0.3% of the world’s agricultural land, and has the highest yield of any oilseed crop.

Health & Nutrition

Palm oil is a balanced oil, with 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated fatty acids. This balance provides excellent qualities for baking and food production. Palm oil is free of GMOs, and has been used as a replacement for dangerous trans fats in Europe.

Multiple researchers and experts in France and across Europe confirm that palm oil is safe. A study from the French Foundation for Food & Health, explained that palm oil is not hazardous, and the amounts consumed in Europe are perfectly normal.

Similarly, a study in 2014 from the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, authored by Drs Elena Fattore and Roberto Fanelli, confirmed this point. The study found no evidence that palm oil is harmful.