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7 Countries Respond to Palm Oil-Based Biofuel Phasing Out Proposal

Brussels, Belgium: Indonesia has taken a the follow-up initiative with palm oil producing countries responding to the European Parliament Report on January 17, 2018 which proposes that the European Union (EU) should phase-out palm oil-based biofuel by 2021.

Through the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Brussels, Indonesia has coordinated the joint stance and steps that all palm oil producing countries from Southeast Asia, Central and South America and Africa need to implement to respond to the Report. Related to this, as a first step, it has been agreed to establish the letter from the Ambassadors of the palm oil producing countries to the president of PE, KE, DE and other stakeholders in EU on February 15, 2018.

This letter has been sent to the EU in the hope that the three EU institutions can accept the position of palm oil producing countries including Indonesia. “By joining together with the representatives of all oil producing countries in Belgium, Indonesia ensures that Indonesia’s concerns and positions and joint positions are heard and supported by the EU, so that in the future such proposed Reports will be rejected as a directive and will not harm our national interests,” said the Chargé d’Affaires Ad Interim of the Indonesian Embassy in Brussels Dupito D. Simamora.

Previously, Indonesia has also expressed a firm stance through approaches taken at various levels, including through the letter of the Minister for of Foreign Affairs to HRVP Federica Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers for EU member states as well as the approaches undertaken in Jakarta and in Brussels to all stakeholders in the three Union institutions Europe.

Despite being adopted on January 17, 2018, the Report is not a final EU decision. In order to become a binding document, there needs to be an agreement between PE, KE and DE through a planned trialogue process that is planned to commence in the fourth week of February 2018.

In the face of this process, the Indonesian Embassy in Brussels has and will continue to encourage the stance of palm oil producing countries before and after the trialogue process in the hope that the EU plan to phase out palm oil-based biofuel in 2021 will not be realised, because it is not in line with the principle of free and fair trade. This report is also considered unfair as palm oil is phased-out a decade earlier than other crops-based biofuels such as rapeseed and soybean by 2030.

In addition to conveying a stance and arguments that expressly reject the PE proposal, the joint letter also requests that palm oil producing countries be included in the EU decision-making process in the spirit of dialogue, the principle of equality, justice and fairness.

The Indonesian Embassy in Brussels appreciated the support of palm-pol producing countries on the joint letters before the trialogue process is rolled out. It is hoped that the views and the stances of palm oil producing countries are seriously considered by the EU.

(Source: T​he Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Brussels)