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Malaysia denies dropping proposed lawsuit against EU palm oil restrictions

FMT Reporters FREE MALAYSIA TODAY Fri, February 14, 2020

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok says Malaysia will mount its own independent complaint when its legal experts are ready.

PETALING JAYA: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok has refuted suggestions that Malaysia wants to back out from filing a World Trade Organisation (WTO) lawsuit against the European Union’s restrictions on palm oil-based biofuel.

Referring to a Reuters report published earlier today, Kok said that the journalist who interviewed her in Brussels yesterday had “twisted” her statements and that she was “deliberately misquoted”.

She was quoted as saying that Malaysia had decided not to file the WTO lawsuit and would instead seek to convince the EU to change its treatment of the crop in a review scheduled for 2021.

The European Commission last year said that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and should not count towards renewable energy targets.

The commission also said palm oil-based diesel would not be considered renewable energy and its use in transport fuel would be phased out from 2024.

Indonesia and Malaysia produce more than 85% of the world’s palm oil, and Indonesia launched a WTO case against the EU in December.

Malaysia has been accepted as an interested party to observe the proceedings during the Indonesian suit against the EU at the WTO.

“At any point when our legal experts, who will also sit in at the WTO hearing, feel ready, we will be prepared to mount our own independent complaint,” said Kok in a statement today.

“Indeed, this was the very essence of my statement to the Reuters journalist, who unfortunately appears to have twisted my statements on this matter of supreme importance.

“In my interview, I had emphasised clearly that my current mission to meet with European leaders was to explain the efforts made by the Malaysian government and palm oil industry to produce sustainable palm oil, and various green conservation projects initiated by the industry,” she added.

From: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, MALAYSIA Fri, February 14, 2020

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