France supports Malaysia's sustainable palm oil, says Minister of State

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): The French Government will help Malaysia promote the country’s sustainable palm oil products by providing scientific findings of the products to its people.

French Minister of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of innovation, Industry 4.0, Agnes Pannier-Runacher said palm oil or other produce that goes through credible and sustainable efforts that are in line with international standards should receive equal support from consumers.

"We believe sustainable approaches to producing palm oil is a positive trend in Malaysia and we support any initiatives to go further.

"We need scientific approaches as people (in France nowadays) are more concerned about the products they consume in terms of its sustainability. They sometimes do get confused with what is sustainable and what is not," she told reporters after visiting the Air Liquide's Smart Innovative Operations Centre and Business Service Centre here today.

Asked on the French Government’s decision to ban palm oil biofuel, she said it was not mainly targeted at palm oil but the use of diesel.

"Currently, we are already limiting the number of cars with diesel, and some authorities are banning diesel cars in our cities," she said.

Earlier this year, the French National Assembly passed a Bill saying palm oil “is not a biofuel” and would not be eligible for tax breaks as of Jan 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, Pannier-Runacher believed Malaysia and France could develop a lot of products in the sectors such as aeronautics, defence and cars, given that France is a leader in the Industry 4.0 in advanced manufacturing.

“This cooperation includes technology transfer as well,” she added.

At the same time, Pannier-Runacher also invited Malaysian investors to invest in France, mainly in the area of research and development.