President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at a bilateral meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Aug 9, concurred on fighting the European Union’s discriminatory measures against the two neighboring countries' palm oil.
"The two leaders have a strong commitment to continuing the fight against palm oil discrimination," Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi was quoted as saying by the Presidential Secretariat's Press and Media Bureau in a statement here on Saturday.
Indonesia and Malaysia remain highly committed to sustainable palm oil management and processing. Indonesia has palm oil certification and scientific data for comparison, she pointed out.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and European Union have agreed to set up a working group on palm oil.
Indonesia believed that a common perception on the Working Group is vital to yield fruitful results in line with the expectations of the two parties.
"Hence, our approach is an open one. Let us cooperate, but if we face constant discrimination, then Indonesia and Malaysia will certainly not keep silent. We will fight," she stated.
President Jokowi had paid a one-day official visit to Malaysia on Friday (Aug 9).
In the meantime, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) pointed to a decline in Indonesia's palm oil exports, pressured by unfavorable regulations in some export destination countries.
The exports of Indonesian palm oil, including crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivatives, oleochemical, and biodiesel in April, had declined 18 percent to reach 2.44 million tons as compared to the total exports of 2.96 million tons in March, according to the association's data released in July 2019.
"In May, exports had clocked an increase but yet not surpassing our expectations," Gapki's Executive Director, Mukti Sardjono, pointed out.
Some 2.79 million tons of palm oil were exported in May, or a 14 percent rise as compared to the previous month.
The export of CPO and its derivatives in April had declined 27 percent, from 2.01 million tons in March to 2.76 million tons, and it increased 18 percent to reach 2.40 million tons in May.
Some main export destination countries have imposed regulations that can be categorized as trade barriers. For instance, India that has increased export duty on palm oil for an uncertain period of time.
Sardjono remarked that the sluggish export of Indonesian palm oil had become a "homework" for the country's industry.
Reporter: Joko Susilo, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution