Malaysia should continue engaging with EU on deforestation-free product regulation, says MPOC
07 Dec 2022, 00:00 AM SGT
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 7): While a provisional agreement on the European Commission’s Proposal for the Deforestation-Free Products Regulation has been reached, Malaysia should continue to engage with the European Union (EU) regarding the new regulation and future implementing rules, said the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).
This is to ensure that the rules are not discriminatory and that reliance on the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil means compliance with the due diligence requirements, chief executive officer Wan Aishah Wan Hamid said.
“While the legislative process has been concluded, the key rules and criteria have yet to be developed by the bloc that will later on be part of the future implementing acts,” she said in a statement.
On Tuesday (Dec 6), the European Parliament and the council of the EU reached the provisional agreement, concluding the inter-institutional trilogue negotiations that began in September 2022, with a second round held on Nov 9, 2022.
Based on a statement shared on the European Commission website, the new law will, once adopted and applied, ensure that a set of key goods placed on the EU market will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world.
“Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of these commodities, this step will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss,” it said.
This major agreement comes just before the start of the Conference on Biodiversity that is expected to define protection goals for nature in decades to come.
Reportedly, negotiations proved difficult on a number of issues, including the scope of the future regulation.
The agreed text adds rubber to the list of six commodities, namely palm oil, beef, timber, coffee, cocoa, and soy, proposed by the European Commission, Wan Aishah noted.
She also said that among the controversial issues relate to the important definitions of "deforestation" and "forest degradation".
The EU Institutions agreed to set a definition for “deforestation” based on the definition used by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and, regarding the definition of “forest degradation”, the EU Institutions agreed on “an innovative concept for the definition of 'forest degradation' meaning structural changes to forest cover, taking the form of the conversion of naturally regenerating forests and primary forests into plantation forests and other wooded land, and the conversion of primary forests into planted forests”.
On traceability, the EU Institutions agreed “on stringent due diligence obligations for operators, which will be required to trace the product they are selling back to the plot of land where it was produced”.