Indonesia discusses palm oil issue in Asean-European Union meeting

Indonesia discusses palm oil issue in Asean-European Union meeting

A worker refills bulk cooking oil at a cooking oil sales agent (ANTARA Photo/M Agung Rajasa)

Jakarta  (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government again discussed the issue of palm oil products at the ASEAN-European Union Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore, according to a written statement made available to Antara here on Saturday.

"ASEAN and the European Union, as the two leading regional organizations in the world, should cooperate in voicing and promoting the principles of multilateralism and free trade, including preventing protectionist practices," Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi stated.

This must be reflected through consistent policies, including in the context of oil palm, she stressed

The statement was conveyed by the Indonesian foreign minister while addressing the growing trend of protectionism that has a global impact, including in the European Union.

Regarding palm oil products, the Indonesian foreign minister stated that Indonesia followed closely the results of the EU Trialog agreement for Renewable Energy Directive II in June 2018.

"There is a potential for oil palm discrimination by applying a number of criteria that are biased for bio-fuels, among others, by distinguishing them based on the high and low risk of carbon emissions in the `Indirect Land Used Changed` (ILUC) scheme," Marsudi noted.

During the meeting, the Indonesian delegation remarked that the issue of palm oil must be discussed wisely, because it involves the livelihood of more than five million small farmers in ASEAN who depend on the palm oil industry.

"Palm oil is very important in supporting our efforts to improve people`s life. It is impossible for us to discuss this issue without considering elements related to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," Marsudi explained.

For that, the Indonesian government again invited the European Union to jointly build standards for the sustainability of all inclusive vegetable oils, he elaborated.

Marsudi?s statement was also supported by Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Syarifuddin who also raised the issue of oil palm in the ASEAN-European Union Foreign Minister Meeting.

The ASEAN-EU meeting this time was jointly chaired by the European Union High Commissioner for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, and Thai Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai, as the Coordinator of the ASEAN-European Union partnership agreement for the 2015-2018 period.

The European Union is the largest investor for ASEAN, with an investment of US$32.2 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, the total trade value of ASEAN-European Union in 2017 reached $257.4 billion, which makes the EU the second largest trading partner for ASEAN. *** 3 ***