by Abu Hanifah
JAKARTA, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) lambasted a resolution by the European parliament on palm oil trade, saying that environmental issues should not be used for discrimination and restriction to trade.
The resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests was enacted on April 4 through a voting process in the parliament's plenary session held in Strasbourg, France.
In the organization's fourth ministerial meeting held here, CPOPC said such a resolution was against the principle of open, rule-based and free and fair international trade.
Ministers taking part in the meeting expressed their grave concern over the resolution, which they said has negative repercussions on palm oil trade.
They also expressed disappointment on numerous issues in the resolution, including the European Parliament's recommendation to develop a single certification system.
The CPOPC ministers said the European Parliament-proposed system actually ignores the existing certification mechanisms developed by producer countries ISPO and MSPO (Indonesian and Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil).
"False allegation that perceives global palm oil production breaching fundamental human rights and adequate social standards neglects the reality that palm oil is an important economic enabler and provides employment opportunities and vital income for poor communities," they said in the Joint Communiqué after the meeting held on Tuesday.
They also said that phasing out of palm oil from European Union (EU) biofuel programme by 2020 is a risky solution as environmental impact from any proposed replacement is more damaging.
Among several aspects, the resolution indicates that management and development of palm oil industry in Indonesia are not addressing the environment sustainability aspect, and may lead to deforestation.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that Indonesia has officially sent an objection note to EU ministerial board over certification of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and biodiesel sold in Europe.
"We apparently object (the European certification regulation). We already have implemented the ISPO certification," the minister said here on Monday.
He added that as the world's largest palm oil producer, Indonesia has its own procedure and standards in producing palm oil, bio diesel and their derivative products as the products are marketed globally.
Indonesia's objection to Europe's new certification mechanism was based on concerns that palm oil industry in the country involves huge number of families who earn their living in the sector.
Negative sentiment against palm oil sector would not only tarnish the industry's growth, it would eventually affect the life of the thousands of families relying on the industry, he added.
The CPOPC ministerial meeting was a regular session discussing joint strategies and policies for sustainable development of the palm oil sector.
The Jakarta-headquartered CPOPC was established in November 2015 by largest palm oil producer countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.