KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has not retracted its option of filing a complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the European Union’s (EU) Delegated Regulation, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (pix) said.
She said in fact, Malaysia’s highest level legal team is examining the potential response “with a fine-tooth comb” to make the petition as watertight as possible.
“We continue to view the Delegated Regulation as a discredit to the Malaysian palm oil industry’s commitment towards mandatory sustainability since it creates additional trade barriers and impedes our sustainability efforts throughout our palm oil supply chain,” she said in a statement today.
For now, Kok noted that Malaysia will still negotiate on these issues with the EU through bilateral meetings and negotiations.
“However, I reiterate that Malaysia has never stated its intentions to back off from the WTO suit,” said in response to Reuters news report dated Feb 13 titled “Malaysia backs off from WTO suit against EU on palm oil.”
Kok, who is currently in Brussels, said her visit to the EU was to meet with European leaders to explain the efforts made by the Malaysian government and palm oil industry to produce sustainable palm oil and various green conservation projects initiated by the industry.
“I sought the endorsement of EU leaders on the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification and to accept MSPO certified palm oil into Europe.
“This is in line with the announcement of seven EU countries in the Amsterdam Declaration on Fully Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020,” she said.
During her meeting with EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and her advisers in Brussels on Thursday, Kok conveyed Malaysia’s concerns on the Delegated Regulation and EU RED II passed by the European Parliament as it discriminated the use of palm oil in biofuel.
Kok further sought a review on the Delegated Regulation by way of an expert joint working group and such provision is actually also embedded within the Delegated Regulation.
Simson concurred with Malaysia’s views on its plan to activate the expert consultation between the EU and palm oil producers.
Malaysia will raise its objections at the Joint Working Group of EU and Palm Oil Producing Countries to review the Delegated Regulations.
The review process of the Delegated Regulation is planned to take place soon and should be completed by June 2021.
Malaysia, meanwhile, has been accepted as an interested party to observe the proceedings at the Indonesian suit against the EU at the WTO.
“At any point when our legal experts, who will also sit in at the WTO hearing feel ready, we will be prepared to mount our own independent complaint,” Kok said. - Bernama