Sime Darby Plantation says any potential US import ban a concern, has responded to forced labour claims

Sime Darby Plantation says any potential US import ban a concern, has responded to forced labour claims
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 2): Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) said it is concerned over any possible import ban imposed by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), given that the country is an important growing market for its products.

In a statement, the group said this is despite the fact that its annual exports to the US are currently a “modest sum of approximately US$5 million (RM20.8 million)”.

SDP was responding to media reports identifying the palm oil giant as the next subject of a Withhold Release Order by the CBP after products of FGV Holdings Bhd were prohibited from entering the US following investigations into alleged use of forced labour.

SDP said it had attempted to engage with the CBP concerning a petition against it that was filed by anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared (LS) on April 20.

However, it was not given any details of the claims by LS or an opportunity to explain itself.

SDP said it had responded to the anti-trafficking group’s petition summary and subsequent public statements “in the best manner possible based on the limited information available”.

“Over the years, we have embraced our position of leadership in driving the principles of sustainable development across our operations.

“Our responses underline our serious commitment to upholding human rights and genuine intention to remedy any lapses in our operations and supply chain.

“They are further underscored by our plan, following our engagement with LS, to commission an independent review of our governance, procedures and practices related to the areas of concern, the details of which will be announced in due course.

“We will continue our engagements with the sincere hope of being able to obtain details of the allegations for us to address them at the earliest opportunity,” said SDP.

As at the time of writing, shares in SDP had risen 0.42% or two sen to RM4.81, valuing the group at RM33.12 billion. 

Read also:
US ban on FGV palm oil will impact smallholders — RSPO
Plantation stocks among top losers as Malaysia expects US to ban imports from a second firm after FGV
FGV expands rubber business to Europe, North America

Lam Jian Wyn