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Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin in Parliament, November 24, 2021. — Bernama pic
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin in Parliament, November 24, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — A dispute proceeding against European Union’s (EU) alleged discrimination against palm oil will be held at the end of January 2022, according to Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Zuraida said she would personally attend the proceeding to provide explanations and the latest developments to combat discrimination against Malaysia’s main commodity.

“I will be present to give a specific and clearer presentation on the position of the palm oil industry in the country.

“They may not be updated with the ministry’s efforts to ensure that the assumption the EU has given is untrue, because with only one and two complaints by non-governmental organisations they have made drastic conclusions on our palm oil industry,” she said during a winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2022 at the committee level in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Zuraida added that virtual meetings and discussions had been held with the EU to exemplify Malaysia’s efforts to address the anti-palm oil campaign there.

“Yesterday, I met EU Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas (who) gave a ‘softer and not as hard’ approach as we have been reading in the news.

“So, MPIC’s approach is to engage with the EU and the United States in terms of this anti-palm oil campaign and forced labour allegations,” she said.

Malaysia filed a request for consultations under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Mechanism in January this year.

Meanwhile, on concerns about the allocation to address the anti-palm oil campaign at the international level, which remained at RM20 million for 2022, Zuraida said MPIC would take a new approach to ensure its success.

Overall, the ministry will ensure strong synergies among the six agencies as well as intra and inter-agencies to ensure that all revenues, exports and production of Malaysia’s key commodities can be increased. — Bernama

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