Teresa Kok, Malaysia's Minister of Primary Industries, visited Brussels and other European capitals this week in a last-ditch effort to kill new EU rules that will ban the use of palm oil in biofuels – a measure European adopted because of concerns about deforestation.
The EU is open to palm oil and there is no ban on the commodity, the head of the European Union Delegation to Malaysia, ambassador Maria Castillo Fernandez, said on 16 July in an apparent attempt to appease Asian producers.
An EU decision to curb palm oil imports was the last thing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak needed ahead of a coming election, with rural voters already aggrieved over financial scandals at state-owned palm oil agency Felda.
The European Parliament's decision to ban palm oil, is "drastic and discriminatory" and Kuala Lumpur is ready to retaliate with its own trade measures against Europe's products if the ban takes effect, Malaysia’s Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong told EURACTIV.
The European Commission's proposal for the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive is in compliance with the EU’s commitments under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, Commission sources told EURACTIV.com, replying to threats from Malaysia to refer the case to the WTO.
None of the palm oil producing governments have yet made any statement in the European media about the EU's plan to ban biofuels from palm oil. This op-ed by Malaysia's Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong explains why the EU's palm oil policies can prove to be dangerous.
Facing a backlash in Europe over palm oil's environmental toll, the world's top producers are scrambling to find new markets and even striking unusual barter deals, such as exchanging Sukhoi fighter-bombers for the edible oil.
France will take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in producing biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in the countries of origin, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Thursday (6 July).
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak warned today (28 April) that South-east Asian countries needed to ensure their economic growth was inclusive, or risk marginalised populations turning to violent extremism or even overturning political systems.
Indonesia and Malaysia said today (11 April) that they would send a joint mission to the EU aiming to prevent the implementation of a European Parliament call to phase out the use of biofuels based on vegetable oils by 2020.
The true negative impact of palm oil, the interests that the trade serves and the failure of policy to deal with deforestation and other consequences, write Jakub Kvapil, Stanislav Lhota and Zoltán Szabó
Despite the new constitution, Thailand's military government remains merciless towards its critics. Expert Anja Bodenmüller told EURACTIV Germany that it is nearly impossible for the country to return to something resembling a democracy.
Southeast Asian nations were deadlocked Sunday (24 July) about how to confront China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, as pressure from Beijing again drove a wedge between countries on the region's toughest security challenge.
The EU launched new probes today (12 February) into imports of Chinese steel, warning it would not allow "unfair competition" to threaten Europe's industry already crumbling under a flood of cheap imports.