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Wed, 05/31/2023 - 14:00
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Indonesia, Malaysia Joint Mission To EU On EUDR A Success - CPOPC

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) -- Malaysia, Indonesia and the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries’ (CPOPC) joint mission to convey concerns and objection to the newly legislated EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is a success, the council said in a statement here today.


“The joint mission can be described as a success. Most important, there is a need to follow up in ensuring the points raised and discussed are being addressed and reciprocated,” said CPOPC.


“While both Indonesia and Malaysia do not expect any tangible immediate outcome from all these meetings, both leaders sent a strong message on the importance for the EU to take cognisant of their wishes, at the same time pave the way for future collaborations and partnerships,” it said in a statement.


This mission was jointly led by Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Fadillah Yusof and Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto.


This was a follow-up to the decision made at the Bilateral Ministerial Meeting of CPOPC held on Feb 9, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Indonesia and Malaysia viewed the EUDR which is inherently discriminatory and punitive in nature, that would not only have detrimental effects on international trade but would also hinder the palm oil industry’s efforts on the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


"Both countries expressed their hope that the EU would observe the principles of transparency, non-discrimination, consistent with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and regulations, particularly in trading palm oil and its products. Indonesia and Malaysia believed that the EUDR should not create trade distortion nor be discriminatory in terms of product coverage and national treatment."


While developing countries continue to engage in building a sustainable multilateral trading system, it is imperative that new regulations should be achieved through a balance, inclusive, deliberated and non-trade restrictive approach, it said.


Positive engagements


The joint mission had positive engagements with various leaders of the EU Commission and Parliament. The meetings were conducted in a cordial, frank and open manner.


The leaders had meetings with executive vice-president (EVP) Frans Timmermans, European Green Deal and Commissioner for Climate Action Policy, Josep Borrell-Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, member of the European Parliament (MEP) Heidi Hautala.


They also met vice-president of the European Parliament and MEP Bernd Lange, chair of International Trade (INTA) Committee, whereby  the Jakarta and Putrajaya leaders highlighted on the impacts of the EUDR on the value chain and consistently emphasised on the need for the EU to engage with the producing countries at the working and technical level.


“There is also a need for the establishment of a consultative engagement by both parties to discuss ways and means of its implementation. Issues to be resolved include the inclusion of smallholders in the supply chain, acceptance of the national sustainable certification schemes as references to the implementation guidelines, technical clarification on the benchmarking system, geolocation, legality and traceability."


CPOPC said the joint mission looks forward to getting a positive response to the above issues and concerns in particular the setting up of a joint task force. Both leaders reiterated the seriousness of the need for these issues to be resolved in view of its consequential repercussion.


Both countries underscored that in connection with the country benchmarking system being developed by the European Commission, labelling a country as a high, standard and low-risk has consequences to the sovereignty and image of the country.


“Therefore, the EU must carefully take into account and be aware of the labelling effects. Indonesia and Malaysia strongly urge the EU to ensure that both Indonesia and Malaysia are low-risk countries.”


Meetings with palm oil stakeholders, industry representatives and civil society organisations in Europe were also held concurrently during the visit to Brussels. The leaders briefed the various stakeholders on the intent of this visit and the outcome of the meetings with the EU leaders.