Mah says Asean protest shows firm stand against barriers to trade
KUALA LUMPUR: Asean’s protest against the European Union’s Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforest showed increasing awareness and cooperation among developing nations in dismantling barriers to trade, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
He said Asean leaders had urged the EU to practise equal opportunities to trade by recognising the certification of sustainable palm oil schemes in palm-producing countries within the region.
“Indonesia and Malaysia’s sustainability certification on palm oil demonstrates Asean’s commitment to the United Nations sustainable development goals.”
In welcoming the “strong support, firm stand and deep understanding” by countries in Southeast Asia, Mah described the consensus reached during the recent 30th Asean Leaders Summit in Manila as “a truly people-oriented one”.
He said the palm oil industry in Asean involved more than 3.5 million smallholders, mostly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
“Support from Asean will reinforce measures that have been taken by Malaysia and Indonesia through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries,” he said.
Mah said his ministry had held bilateral talks with the ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Malaysia, Maria Castillo Fernandez, to discuss the EU resolution on palm oil.
In the meeting, Mah said his ministry had the facts and figures to address the negative sentiment in major EU countries.
His ministry also highlighted that the EU imported up to 7.5 million tonnes of palm oil per year, with shipment from Malaysia accounting for 29 per cent of its palm oil imports. Ooi Tee Ching
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong says Asean leaders have urged the EU to practise equal opportunities to trade.