EU Ambassador: Door Still Open For Indonesian CPO

JAKARTA – European Union (EU) Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket said that the EU still opens its door for the imports of crude palm oil (CPO) from Indonesia, despite trade dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Piket stated that during the first 10 months in 2020, the exports of palm oil products from Indonesia to EU increased by 27 percent in terms of value and 10 percent in terms of volume.

“During first 10 months of last year (2020) CPO exports of Indonesia to EU increased. It showed that it is not true that we ban the palm oil,” he told a press conference in mid-January 2021.

Previously, the limitation of CPO import from Indonesia and other producing countries was based on EU’s adoption of the renewable energy directive II (RED-II).

Through RED II, EU will increase the contribution of renewable energy to its energy mix up to 32 percent of the total energy consumption in 2030, while gradually reducing the use of palm oil as raw material to produce biofuel.

Indonesia filed a lawsuit against the EU policy to the WTO in December 2019, saying that the limitation of palm oil for producing biofuel is not fair and asked for consultations with the trade organization.

The consultation process between Indonesia and EU was conducted on 19 February 2020 at the headquarters of WTO in Geneva, Switzerland. At that time Indonesia filed 108 questions regarding the application of the RED II by EU. Both sides then were scheduled to continue negotiations for 60 days to find a solution. The last agenda for negotiations was scheduled on 19 April 2020. But it was delayed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Piket said that outside of the trade dispute at the WTO, the EU has set up a work team with palm oil producing countries, including Indonesia, to discuss about the palm oil sustainability which is considered as an obstacle to the trading of the product recently.

“There is a work team that is assigned to talk about this. Before the end of this month (January), EU hopes all confusions on the palm oil should be cleared,” he said.

He noted that regarding the trade dispute at the WTO, EU will follow all procedures that are applied by the international trade organization. Besides Indonesia, Malaysia was also reported to file a lawsuit against the EU palm oil policy at the WTO. (*)

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