Indonesia protests EU’s restriction on crude palm oil

  • This photo taken on April 29, 2016 shows a plantation worker harvesting fruit from oil palm trees at Suka Dame village in Deliserdang, Indonesia’s North Sumatra province. Indonesia is pushing to ban new palm oil operations after last year’s haze-belching forest fires were partly blamed on the industry’s expansion, but producers are warning the move could hit the economy and green groups are sceptical. / AFP PHOTO / KHARISMA TARIGAN / TO GO WITH AFP STORY INDONESIA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-ECONOMY,FOCUS BY KIKI SIREGAR

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has sent a strong protest note to the European Union president and the European Parliament against a recent decision to restrict exports of Indonesia’s crude palm oil to the union, The Jakarta Post Online reported on Friday (March 9).

“The President has written a letter to the EU president and parliament to express Indonesia’s rejection of and strong protest against the EU’s treatment of Indonesian palm oil,” said cabinet secretary Pramono Anung on Thursday.

In January, the European parliament endorsed a bill that would limit the use of palm oil as transportation fuel starting in 2021.  The bill includes a plan to increase renewable energy use to at least 35 percent of overall energy use but it also limits the use of biofuels.

In the letter dispatched last week, Jokowi deemed the EU’s move was a protectionist policy to protect the local cooking oil industry, said Pramono, warning that if the EU ignores the protest, Indonesia will consider taking a retaliatory measure, but he declined to elaborate.

He further said that the EU’s stance against Indonesia crude palm oil was a violation of fair trade principle.