JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – The Joint Mission of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) is in Brussels, Belgium from 8th to 9th April 2019. This Mission is being co-led by His Excellency Mr. Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. Malaysia is being represented by His Honorable Dato’ Dr. Tan Yew Chong, Secretary General for Ministry of Primary Industries of Malaysia. Colombia, acting as an observer country, is represented by His Excellency Mr. Felipe Garcia Echeverri, Ambassador of Colombia to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of the Mission of Colombia to the European Union.
This Mission is a follow-up to the agreed decision of the 6th Ministerial Meeting of CPOPC held on 28th February 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia to pose a strong challenge to the Delegated Regulation Supplementing Directive 2018/2001 of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive II (the Delegated Act) and engage in dialogue with EU leaders to express our grave concerns. The meeting agreed to jointly address discriminatory measures arising from the Delegated Act with the EU authorities.
CPOPC Member Countries view the Delegated Act as a political compromise within the EU aimed at isolating and excluding palm oil from its mandated renewable energy sector to the benefit of EU rapeseed oil and other less competitive imported vegetable oils. In our view, the intention of this proposed Delegated Act is to restrict and effectively ban altogether palm oil biofuel in the EU through the use of a scientifically flawed concept of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC).
The unsubstantiated criteria used in the Delegated Act, while deliberately focusing on palm oil and deforestation, makes no attempt to include broader environmental concerns associated with the cultivation of other vegetable oils including rapeseed.
Furthermore, the Delegated Act is viewed by CPOPC as a unilateral instrument directed against palm oil producers thereby hindering their achievement of poverty alleviation and other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We strongly oppose the Delegated Act, which classifies palm oil as unsustainable due to ‘high-risk’ ILUC. CPOPC is of the opinion that the EU is using this Delegated Act to phase out and impose a ban on palm oil imports into the EU mandated renewable energy sector in order to promote EU’s own home-grown vegetable oils. CPOPC has strongly voiced concerns that these assumptions have been based on scientifically inaccurate and discriminatory criteria.
The claims made by the EU Commission that the Delegated Act is based on scientific and environmental grounds do not bear close scrutiny. Amongst others, soybean oil from selective sources has been categorized as low risk ILUC, despite the EU’s own in-house research concluding that soybean is responsible for far more ‘imported deforestation’.
This calls into question the whole Delegated Act and the probability that political and economic protectionism rather than science-based decisions were the true drivers of this Delegated Act. CPOPC views this as a calculated and adverse economic and political strategy to remove palm oil from the EU marketplace.
During this Mission, we shall convey the concerns of our Governments to the EU leaders and authorities and pave the way for an acceptable solution to all parties concerned.