Jakarta: The Indonesian government has stated the country strongly opposes the decision of the European Commission to adopt the Draft Delegated Regulation which classifies palm oil as unsustainable “high-risk" ILUC vegetable oil based on a unilateral and arbitrary scientifically flawed standard.
"Through this Regulation, the Commission confirms that the intention of the Draft Delegated Regulation is not to promote sustainability in the vegetable oil sector, but to phase out and impose a ban on palm oil imports into the EU mandated biofuel sector in order to protect and to promote EU's home-grown vegetable oils," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a press release on Monday.
According to the Indonesian government, the singling out of palm oil in the delegated regulation will actually undermine sustainability in the vegetable oil sector. In this respect, it is well known that the productivity of palm oil at 3.8 MT/ha/year compared to 0.6 MT for rapeseed and 0.5 MT for soya is the key to protect the global land mass of vegetable oils as demand continues to increase.
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"Comparisons of productivity does not mean that Indonesia is willing to sacrifice lands of high biodiversity for the lack of productivity elsewhere," the statement said.
Indonesia has applied a moratorium on forest clearance for expansion of new oil palm plantation. The country is preparing several initiatives to improve further productivity levels to include replanting of high yielding oil palm trees on existing lands owned by smallholders.
"It is also important to recall the significant contribution that palm oil has played in meeting the social and economic aspirations of Indonesia and in alleviating poverty by employing 17 million workers which include more than 4 million farmers," the statement noted.
Indonesia is ready to challenge the discriminatory measures of the EU within the WTO. The country also doesn't exclude other counter measures, including litigation.
"Indonesia will continue to collaborate closely with palm producing countries within the CPOPC, as well as the ASEAN frameworks, not only to promote sustainability but also to encourage a common front against the discriminatory actions of the EU," it remarked.