Teresa Kok threatens France with retaliatory actions

(FMT) – Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok has condemned the French National Assembly for excluding the use of palm oil as a biodiesel feedstock, a move that could disrupt the livelihood of millions in key palm oil producing nations including Malaysia.

In a press statement today, she warned of “retaliatory actions” on bilateral trade and other ongoing collaborations from all palm oil producers if the French authorities do not reconsider its anti-palm oil vote.

“This is a most unwelcome decision and goes against the very principles of free and fair trade. The vote by the Parliamentarians is alarming and deserves the strongest condemnation,” she said.

The French National Assembly had on Wednesday voted to end tax incentives for adding palm oil to diesel fuel as of 2020 and decided to treat palm oil diesel as a regular fuel and not as a green fuel.

Describing the move as unwarranted and unjustified, Kok said their action to ultimately exclude the usage and importation of palm oil as part of the approved renewable energy mix could affect the country’s bilateral trade relations with Malaysia.

She said Malaysia plans to protest strongly against the action and will also muster support from other key palm oil producers

“We deem the vote by the Parliamentarians who adopted amendments to its existing biofuels and fuels legislation and not recognising palm biodiesel as green fuel, as discriminatory and unfair.

“It is regrettable that the Parliamentarians are making an uninformed decision as sustainable palm oil is good for the environment and supports the socio-economic development of palm oil producing countries,” said Kok.

Asserting that the French National Assembly’s decision was made based on unsubstantiated assumptions that the sector caused deforestation and pollution, she said they were jeopardising Malaysia’s sustainable goals and efforts.

“This is a condemnation of our commodity palm oil, which contributes significantly to our GDP and livelihood of more than 3 million people in Malaysia.

“Therefore, I call upon the French Senate to make a conscionable and socially-responsible decision on the Lower House’s vote.

“Endorsing the French National Assembly’s vote against palm oil will have profound impact on the livelihood of millions of not only Malaysian but also Southeast Asian inhabitants and the economies of the countries.”