The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo again raised the European Union’s discriminatory measures against Indonesia’s palm oil during a meeting with EU’s business representatives in Jakarta on Thursday.
“Indonesia will not keep silent about the EU’s discrimination. Negotiations over the Indonesia-EU CEPA [Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement] will continue. Palm oil will certainly be part of it,” Jokowi said during a meeting with members of the EU-ASEAN Business Council at the Merdeka Palace.
He said he regretted that all the data and information about the actual condition of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations conveyed by the Indonesian government and palm oil producers did not receive attention from the EU.
The issue, however, did not affect the ongoing talks over the CEPA. Jokowi said he hoped a recently established working group on palm oil would help find common ground for settling the dispute.
Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said after the meeting that the government hoped the palm oil issue would not disturb Indonesia’s relations with the regional bloc.
“The [EU’s] discrimination was particularly [aimed at] biofuel. Indonesia’s biofuel sales in Europe were worth US$650 million and our total trade in Europe was worth about US$31 billion. So, don’t let the $650 million trade disturb all trade with the EU,” said Airlangga.
He also reminded the delegation that Indonesia was European airplane manufacturer Airbus' biggest customer, with about 200 aircraft still to be delivered, adding that the two parties are looking for ways to resolve the palm oil issue.