Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An economic observer said the black campaigns against palm oil has to be stopped to prevent it from hurting the country`s trade balance and investment sector.

Bhima Yudhistira from the economic think tank The Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), said immediate measure has to be taken especially as the country already suffered trade deficit over the past several years.

"Otherwise the fate of palm oil would be like that of spices which we know now only about their past glory," Bhima said here on Tuesday.

In global trade, there are different ways of black campaigns against palm oil. In the United States the issue against palm oil is more about dumping charge to follow the growing domination of biofuel. In the European Union it is environmental issue and alleged violation of human rights, Bhima said.

"Intensive lobby is needed that the issue would not be politicized into black campaign," he said commenting on the growing campaigns against Indonesian palm oil launched by international non governmental organizations (NGOs) including the attempt to seize ship carrying palm oil for exports from the country.

Meanwhile, researcher from the Research and Development Center of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Chairil Anwar Siregar said positive campaigns would more ethical, educative and effective in drawing international support to end the black campaign.

"The way the Greenpeace in climbing to board the foreign palm oil cargo ship claimed as a peace action was more a negative action. Such action would not bring about improvement and would not be important for our country," Chairil said.

The campaigns for environment should be educative that the action would have a lasting positive impact for the protection of the environment, he said, adding especially as palm oil companies are already committed to improving all aspects of environment.

"If the objective is environmental improvement, there are many ways we could use such as discussions, which are more civilized that could produce long term solution ," Chairil said.

A lecturer at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) Dr Sudarsono Soedomo said most foreign NGOs in Indonesia failed to comply with the Indonesian regulations, therefore, the government should act firmly without compromise.

"Investigation should be launched against Greenpeace, and other NGOs how far they comply with the Indonesian law," he said.

Indonesia has also asked other ASEAN countries to counter black campaigns against palm oil.

Reporting by Subagyo, A Saragih

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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