KUALA LUMPUR (July 29): Malaysia has urged the European Union (EU) to accept and recognise the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme as one of the voluntary schemes under the renewable energy directive (RED II) for the certification of low direct and land use change risk biofuels and bioliquids.
In a statement today, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the country’s oil palm industry is committed to producing palm oil in accordance with the MSPO certification scheme, which will be implemented on a mandatory basis by Dec 31, 2019.
“Malaysia remains fully committed to negotiating in a sincere and constructive manner, in ensuring non-discriminatory treatment against palm products and to prevent unnecessary barriers for market access of palm products into the European Union,” the ministry said.
The Delegated Act to implement RED II for the year 2021-2030 contains strict requirements against significant expansion of crops for feedstock biofuels, which may lead to the extension of agriculture land into areas with high carbon stock such as forests, wetlands and peatlands.
This is termed as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC), where a crop carries a higher ILUC risk with greater extension of agriculture land into areas of high carbon stock. The crops considered as “high ILUCrisk” will be phased out by 2030.
“Palm oil is categorised as 'high ILUC-risk' in the Delegated Act and this is noticeably a form of disguised trade and protectionist measure against the crop,” MITI said.
The ministry said it will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries to fully utilise and make use of the various World Trade Organisation (WTO) and international platforms in the best interest of local palm oil exporters and smallholders.
MITI added that Malaysia has once again raised its concerns on palm oil restriction for biofuel by the European Commission at the WTO meetings fromhs of May until July 2019.
“Malaysia has repeatedly emphasised our concern at the WTO platforms since 2018 and will continue to do so. Malaysia’s concerns were also being supported by other palm oil-producing countries such as Indonesia, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Ecuador.
“In addition, the government continues to explore initiatives to increase the usage of palm oil in biodiesel for the domestic consumption, as an alternative, if palm oil exports to EU markets are affected by the EU RED II implementation,” MITI said.
For the transport sector, Malaysia has implemented biodiesel B10 starting February 2019. MITI and MPI are working together towards implementing biodiesel B20 in 2020, and B30 by 2025 or earlier.
Special committee formed to monitor B20 biodiesel implementation, says Teresa Kok
Teresa Kok leads palm oil promotion mission to key European markets
Malaysia mulls going to WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism
Labelling palm oil as high ILUC risk ‘unacceptable’, Malaysia tells EC