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Jakarta Post

Govt to hire European law firms for EU palm oil talks: Luhut

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 28, 2019   /   02:20 pm
Govt to hire European law firms for EU palm oil talks: Luhut An oil palm plantation is seen from the air on Aug. 9, 2018 in Dumai, Riau. (Antara Photo/Rony Muharrman)

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has said the government plans to hire foreign law firms to negotiate with the European Union on its restrictive policies on palm oil.

"We have agreed with other palm oil stakeholders to hire European law firms to represent us, because they will understand the anatomy better," Luhut said Thursday on the sidelines of a national palm oil farmers meeting in Jakarta.

He said the government would determine key performance indicators for the law firms, which will be formed into a team before March 8. 

Luhut said during the meeting that the government would employ offensive diplomacy against the EU's "discriminatory policies", underlining that the two sides needed to be on an equal footing.

He added that palm oil sector had helped the country achieve its  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, as millions of oil palm smallholders relied on the commodity to earn an income.

Indonesia is the largest palm oil producer in the world, and palm oil is the country’s largest export commodity in terms of volume.

Ongoing negative campaigns against palm oil in the EU pose a threat to the commodity's export performance. According to the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA), the trading bloc was one of the world’s largest consumers of palm oil in 2016.

The EU has linked the commodity to environmental degradation and particularly deforestation, which can increase global greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Parliament phased out crude palm oil (CPO) in its revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II last year, although the regulation is not yet in effect. (ars)