Malaysia and Indonesia – the world’s two largest palm oil producers – plan to appoint an ‘Ambassador of Palm Oil’ to promote the product in the international market, Malaysian National News Agency Bernama reported on 31 August.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said palm oil producers were now facing non-tariff barriers in major importing countries.

“These include food products with ‘No Palm Oil’ labels and proposals to impose high import taxes on palm oil products. This is a form of discrimination to us,” he said.

Mah was commenting after co-chairing the ministerial meeting of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) with Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Resources, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.

Luhut Binsar said the ambassador had to be a person who was influential and with a good image to represent the two countries.

Both countries had agreed to contribute US$5M each initially to operate the CPOPC secretariat, Mah said.

They also agreed to cooperate in promoting the use of biodiesel in other countries, particularly China.

“China is looking to overcome environmental problems and we are trying to convince the Chinese government that B5 or B10 biodiesel can bring some good impacts,” Luhut Binsar said.