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Indonesia asks EU to ease Indonesia palm oil import regulations

December 04, 2014

​Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, has asked the European Union (EU) to ease its regulations on palm oil imports, mainly to help Indonesian farmers benefit from exporting the commodity, The Jakarta Post reported in November.

Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, has asked the European Union (EU) to ease its regulations on palm oil imports, mainly to help Indonesian farmers benefit from exporting the commodity, The Jakarta Post reported in November.

In a meeting with the European Council president, Herman van Rompuy, Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asked the EU’s principal representative to ease the barriers to palm oil products in the EU.

“We have asked him to help us solve this problem”, Jokowi told reporters. “Oil palm plantations belong not only to big companies. Forty-five percent belong to farmers, so it’s necessary to find a solution.”

Von Rompuy said he would take Indonesia’s request as “the council’s concern”, according to foreign minister Retno LP Maraud.

Palm oil vital to Indonesia

Palm oil is the second-top contributor to total exports in Indonesia, after coal. It contributed US$19.22bn, or 10.53%, to the country’s total exports of US$182.57bn last year, the Jakarta Post report said.

The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) recently said that Indonesia had produced an estimated 31.5M tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) this year, with nine million tonnes absorbed by the domestic market and the remainder shipped overseas.

Indonesia’s largest market for CPO is India, accounting for 20% of total exports, followed by the EU at 19% and China at 15%.

Challenging health concerns

The Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI) said there had been a strong campaign in Europe to reduce the consumption of palm oil, which was deemed unhealthy for its high saturated fat content and blamed for deforestation and bad environmental practices.

The anti-palm oil sentiment was already evident in France, where some food manufacturers had already placed a ‘no palm oil’ label on their products.

Indonesia had also attracted recurring accusations from its trading partners, including the EU, about its palm oil derivatives. 


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