MO,13/2/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Spain has backed Malaysia’s position that the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive II is unfair and goes against international trade practice. In a statement today, Plantation Industries and Commodities Malaysia Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Spain’s backing on the issue was expressed during Malaysia’s bilateral meetings with the European nation’s representatives in Madrid, Spain.
The meeting focused on EU’s proposal to ban palm oil from biofuel and renewable energy mix by 2020 and its effect on the livelihoods of more than 650,000 smallholders in Malaysia. Mah said if palm oil was banned, any other alternative to substitute palm oil would result in higher costs. “The high cost will ultimately burden consumers and would also result in high losses to the biodiesel industry players in Spain.
“The Spanish Government’s stand is because the ban would have a devastating impact on the biodiesel industry in Spain and it was not in line with World Trade Organisation’s (WHO) free trade law,” he said. Mah said Malaysia strongly opposed the EU resolution as it discriminates and seeks to ban palm oil.
Present at the meetings was Spanish Secretary of State for Energy Danial Navia Simon; Secretary of State for Commerce Maria Luisa Poncela Garcia; and Spanish Agricultural, Food and Environment Minister Jaimie Haddad. Spain uses 70 per cent palm-based biofuel feedstock, the largest usage among the 28 EU countries.
The country is also the second largest palm importer after the Netherlands, with an annual value of nearly RM1 billion. Meanwhile, in a special meeting, Spain palm oil importers urged the Malaysian government to continue its opposition to the ban and they were ready to cooperate to address the negative perception towards the industry.
The government Mah said will continue the Malaysia-EU Oil Palm Negotiation Mission with government representatives and EU Commissioners from Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and Italy.