Indonesia urges EU to accord fair treatment to palm oil hinh anh 1Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi  (Photo: Antara)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi called on the European Union (EU) to give fair treatment to palm oil during the 23rd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting held online on December 1.

Retno Marsudi’s request was given following the European Council (EC)’s adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) in March last year, in which the EC concluded that palm oil plantation resulted in massive deforestation worldwide, and set down plans to phase out the use of palm oil completely by 2030.

To improve common understanding and bridge better policies and self confidence in the sustainable palm oil industry, the ASEAN and the EU have agreed on the creation of a Joint Working Group (JWG) to discuss vegetable oils in proportion to palm oil.

The Indonesian diplomat said she welcomes the plan to organise the first JWG meeting in January, 2021, stressing the ASEAN-EU partnership should be maintained based on mutual benefit, equality and non-discrimination so as to further develop the strategic partnership.

Earlier, Marsudi said if other vegetable oils need 278 million hectares of cultivated land, palm oil requires just 17 million hectares.

Southeast Asia is the world’s largest palm oil producer, accounting for 89 percent of the global production, she said, adding palm oil can play an important role in helping nations achieve sustainable development goals since the palm oil sector generates 26 million jobs in the region, and gains tens of billions of USD each year.

In Indonesia, the industry helped 10 million households escape poverty, and contributed 23 billion USD to the country’s foreign exchange coffers in 2019, she said.

Indonesia has stressed that the post-pandemic economic recovery in the context of environmental protection must serve common interests and commitments.

Environmentally friendly production of palm oil is the commitment of Indonesia and the EU, she added./.