JAKARTA, June 29 (JDN.id) – European Union’s plan to phase out palm oil use in biofuel, migrant workers protection, South China sea conflict, and border issues, were among topics discussed in a meeting between leaders from Indonesia and Malaysia this week.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made his first official visit to Indonesia on Thursday and Friday since he won the election on May 10. The 92-year-old Prime Minister met with Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the State Palace in Bogor, West Java on Friday.
Mahathir attacked European’s hypocrisy in anti-palm oil campaign arguing it is more for economic reasons rather than environmental concerns.
“We are dealing with the same challenges. Our palm oil exports are threatened by Europe and we need to work together against that,” he told reporters in Bogor, as quoted by Antaranews.com.
Indonesia and Malaysia contribute to about 85 percent of global palm oil supply. The commodity is used in a large number of purposes from cooking, food products, cosmetics to biofuel. European markets take about 15 percent of the global demand with biofuel playing a significant booster for demand increase.
An informal agreement from a trilogue meeting of EU negotiatiors on June 14 agreed to extend the deadline to ban palm oil use for biodiesel to 2030 from 2021 previously.
Despite the delay that will give another 12 years opportunity for Indonesian and Malaysian biofuel to enter the European markets, the complete phasing out plan is not good news for the two producing countries.
“We all remember that in Europe, their countries used to be covered with forests, but they have cut down all their forests, and no one argued (with) them. We also never argued (with) them,” Mahathir said.
Widodo in a statement published in Indonesia’s cabinet secretary website said the meeting also touched on some Indonesian migrant workers protection in Malaysia, South China sea conflicts, and border issues.
“One by one, those (issues) will be discussed in various ministerial forums. We also talked about joint cooperations in the borders,” Widodo said, as quoted in the statement.