KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 2018 : Palm oil should not be discriminated against in the trade system as the European Union (EU) moves to renew its energy directives, said Swedish Minister for Entrepreneur and Innovation Mikael Damberg.
He said Sweden recognised palm oil as an important industry in Malaysia and was aware of the number of initiatives taken to propel it in the global system.
“Sweden really appreciates the Malaysian government’s efforts on sustainability in the oil palm industry,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the second Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit here, today.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed was present.
On Jan 17, 2018, the European Parliament voted to phase out palm biofuels from the EU energy mix after 2020.
Reports said the final decision would be made in a tripartite meeting alongside the EU Council and Commission.
Mustapa said consumer sentiment could be bogged down by the move taken by EU members of Parliament to restrict the use of palm oil.
“Now it’s still at the discussion stage, if this were to happen, it will undoubtedly affect our exports as the EU is a big market,” he said.
China, the EU and India are three major markets for Malaysian palm oil.
Last year, two million tonnes or 15 per cent of Malaysia’s palm oil exports worth RM10.3 billion were shipped into the EU.
Meanwhile, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Sweden is expected to increase in the next two years as the ASEAN region’s trade becoming more liberal.
“We expect the number to rise and looking at the interest from Swedish companies in Malaysia, I think we could see more trading and investments activities going both ways,” said Damberg.
Between 1980 and September 2017, Malaysia approved 126 manufacturing projects with total investments of RM2.7 billion, which involved the participation of Sweden, creating over 8,200 jobs.
The two-day Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit is a joint effort by Team Sweden in Southeast Asia.
Team Sweden includes the Swedish Embassies in ASEAN member states, Swedish Trade Commissioners and representatives of Business Sweden in the region, as well as business associations and chambers of commerce in the respective countries. – Reuters