Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia to challenge EU palm oil curbs at WTO

Malaysia to challenge EU palm oil curbs at WTO

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A worker rests near palm oil fruits at a factory in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur. MOHD RASFAN/AFP

Malaysia to challenge EU palm oil curbs at WTO

Malaysia will lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the EU’s plan to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels, a minister said on Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian country is the world’s second biggest palm oil producer after Indonesia and would be hit hard by the EU’s plan to cut its use in biofuels by 2030.

“Malaysia will file a WTO complaint . . . hopefully by November,” said Teresa Kok, the minister responsible for the edible vegetable oil.

She said the attorney-general’s office was working on the complaint and Malaysia hoped to cooperate with Indonesia in the case.

Palm oil is a major ingredient in a wide range of products from food to cosmetics but it has long been controversial as environmentalists say it drives deforestation, with huge swathes of rainforest logged in recent decades to make way for plantations.

Its use in food and cosmetics has already dropped in Europe, partly due to pressure from green groups on major corporations, but has been increasing in biofuels.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in March slammed the EU move to curb palm oil in biofuels, saying it risks opening up a trade war with Malaysia.

He has also warned of retaliation by buying new fighter jets from China instead of France’s Rafale jet or the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Last week Indonesian President Joko Widodo promised to fight the EU’s plans, telling Bloomberg News that “palm oil is a strategic commodity for Indonesia”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges