France's Palm Oil Tax May Not Give Big Impact On Industry

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) — The plan to impose a discriminatory tax on palm oil produced in the developing world by the French National Assembly may not have give big impact on the Malaysian palm oil industry after all.

“It has been debated. The idea to impose this tax may only be on the palm oil that came from unsustainable plantation,” said Malaysian External Trade Development (Matrade) deputy chief executive officer Susila Devi.

“In the case of Malaysia, the implication won’t be so big as the palm oil export to the country only stood at RM26.6 million last year,” she told the media after a briefing on the international sourcing programme (INSP) in conjunction with the Offshore Technology Conference Asia 2016.

Explaining further, Susila said, France’s palm oil’s users would not support the plan as they still needed it for their products.

“We do not foresee the additional tax happening because palm oil is heavily in demand by food manufacturing there.

“You cannot replace palm oil with olive oil to make chocolate or margarine. I don’t see that happening as Nutella manufacturer will fight for it,” she said.

Earlier, in a statement, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council has condemned the vote on the tax which ran against all evidence, supporting a protectionism that discriminated against palm oil from the developing countries.

Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron said the ‘differential’ tax proposal was a clear violation for both the World Trade Organisation and the European Union.

The tax was passed in a vote of members of parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly, as part of the Biodiversity Bill, after Socialist MPs proposed a new 90 euro per tonne tax on palm oil.

This followed an attempt in January by the French Senate to place a 300 euro tax on palm oil.

— BERNAMA

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