A new agreement between Indonesia and the countries within the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – is expected to come into force this year, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) announced on its newsletter.

Finalised in December 2018, when the Indonesia-EFTA Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) takes effect, Switzerland, for example, will provide specific concessions for certain palm oil products, according to the 22 March statement. These would comprise tariff-rate quotas for crude palm oil, palm stearin and palm kernel oil.

Initially, the tariff-rate quota would stand at 10,000 tonnes, gradually increasing to 12,500 tonnes over five years, the organisation said.

In response, Indonesia would have to meet sustainability and traceability requirements, MPOC said, and the country’s palm oil exports to Switzerland would have to comply with Article 8.10 on ‘Sustainable management of the vegetable oils sector and associated trade’, which is included in the CEPA chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development.

In April 2021, Switzerland also adopted an Ordinance on Preferential Importation of Sustainable Produced Palm Oil from Indonesia, in order to implement Article 8.10, MPOC said, with the Ordinance entering into force at the same time as the CEPA.

Article 2 of the Ordinance listed the four certification systems that would be valid as proof of compliance with the sustainability objectives, MPOC said. These included: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification, Identity Preserved (IP); RSPO certification, Segregated (SG); International Sustainability and Carbon Certification PLUS, Segregated; and Palm Oil Innovation Group certification combined with RSPO IP or RSPO SG.

The Ordinance did not, however, include the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil certification, MPOC said.