On 28 December 2018, A Kuala Lumpur government minister said that Norway’s plans to ban palm-based biodiesel from 2020 can be an obstacle in trade talks between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Malaysia, according to Daily Times.
“We view this as unfair and unjust, going against free and fair trade, and is certainly not something we will take lightly,” said Malaysia’s primary industries minister Teresa Kok.
On 3 December, Norway decided to formulate a proposal to stop their own purchase of biofuels with high deforestation risk from countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
The decision called for the government “to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk”.
The palm oil industry is often linked by environmental groups with deforestation.
Rainforest Foundation Norway, an NGO working to protect the world’s rainforests, called Norway’s decision a “victory in the fight for the rainforest”:
“The Norwegian parliament’s decision sets an important example to other countries and underlines the need for a serious reform of the world’s palm oil industry,” says Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway.