Indonesian Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto on Friday said Indonesia opposed a European Union to set a separate food health standard for palm oil compared to other vegetable oils, saying it was another form of trade barriers against palm oil.
“Europe is raising its trade barriers by trying to formulate higher standards. This, of course, we cannot allow to continue,” Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Airlangga Hartarto, told journalists on the margin of a Forum on 3-MCPD and GE organized by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) here.
Addressing the forum earlier, Airlangga said in his keynote speech that Indonesia “without question” opposed the proposal to set a lower limit of 1,250 microgram for soft oils and vegetable oils produced in the European union.
“With this non-tariff barrier, discriminatory consumers will be misled into perceiving palm oil as bad compared to other vegetable oils. So clearly this is the way for them to differentiate between palm oil and other oils,” he said.
The coordinating minister said that with the move to set the higher standards for palm oil, the European Union was “raising the bar” in its trade efforts to protect its own oils.
Indonesia is already taking the European Union to the World Trade Organization for its plan to gradually phase out biofuels made with palm oil by 2030, over concern of deforestation.
The cultivation of palm oil, the EU deems, is to blame for the massive deforestation taking place in palm oil producing countries.
“So, it is the task of the CPOPC that the maximum level of 2,500 microgram for all vegetable oil should be adopted as the acceptable safety limit for consumption,” he Erlangga said.
He added that Indonesia had already voiced its position on this to the European Union, that it opposed a different food safety standard to be applied on palm oil.