Malaysia threatens to halt all palm oil exports upon EU passing law on forest protection

A new EU-law enforcing forest protection has made Malaysia threatening to halt palm oil exports. Photo: Clean Malaysia

It has only been a little over a month since the Members of the EU decided to ban all import and export of products originating from areas of deforestation including palm oil, rubber and coffee.

However, the Malaysian government, the world’s second largest exporter of palm oil, said the law is unfair and has threatened to halt all export of palm oil to EU.

According to Danish public media, DR, the law is the first in the world to attempt to protect forests against over-exploitation and several environmental organisations, such as Greenpeace and Forests of the World, has said the is law groundbreaking and important for the fight for protecting pristine and primary forests.

With the law, the EU wishes to target deforestation around the world as it has enormous consequences for biodiversity, nature, climate, and indigenous people. According to UN, more than 420 million hectares, consistent with all EU Members States together, disappeared between 1990 and 2020.

Malaysian Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Fadillah Yusof, believes the accusations from environmental organisations of palm oil producers being responsible for clearing large areas of rain forest in Southeast Asia has no place on Earth as Malaysia has collaborated with Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of palm oil, in enforcing mandatory sustainability standards for all plantations.

– If we will have to hire foreign experts to respond to the law, we will. Otherwise, there is the possibility that we will simply stop exports to Europe and focus on other countries if they (EU, red.) make it so hard for us to export palm oil, Yusof said.

The minister has encouraged all members of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries to fight the law and what he calls “unjustified accusations” from the EU.

The European law has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and the Members States however, Michalis Rokas, EU Ambassador to Malaysia stressed the law is not a negative discrimination of either Indonesia or Malaysia as the law applies to all countries including the Members States.

– The aim is to make sure the production of commodities does not lead to further deforestation and destruction of forests ecosystems, the Ambassador said.


About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

View all posts by Jeannette Hinrup

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