Rafale jet. (Source: dassault-aviation)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil, said on March 8 that the European Union (EU)’s decision to curb imports of this product could prompt the country to reconsider its plan to buy France’s fighter jets.

France’s Rafale jets, built by Dassault Aviation, had until recently been seen as the top choice of Malaysia as the country planned to buy 18 new fighter planes  in a deal potentially worth over 2 billion USD  - one of Asia’s biggest fighter jet deals.

However, negotiations on the deal hit a snag after European lawmakers pushed to stop using palm oil in producing fuels for vehicles.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the Rafale jets are competing with fighter planes produced by the UK, which has left the EU.

Hussein’s statement raised hopes for the UK’s BAE Systems which has been on a consistent and public campaign for nearly a decade to win the Malaysia contract.

In April last year, the European Parliament approved a resolution, which stressed that palm oil imported to the EU should be certified to meet standards related to environmental sustainability.

The EU’s decision could cause a loss of about 500 million USD for Malaysia’s annual palm oil turnover.-VNA