Bilateral discussion between Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities and Thailand’s Minister of Commerce, Mr. Sontirat Sontijirawong was held here in Kuala Lumpur.
Mah commends Thailand’s step to joining Malaysia and Indonesia in opposing the European Union’s executive decision on adopting the trade barrier against palm oil.
He proclaimed Thailand’s keenness to respond also portrays the agreement and firmness of major palm oil producing countries in counteracting the continuous prejudice and oppression by the EU on oil palm commodities.
Mah affirmed that Thailand’s commitment also proves that Malaysia is not alone in protecting the interests of three million oil palm smallholders in the ASEAN region, and the effort of campaigning against the EU resolution is gaining strong support from other palm oil producing countries.
Mah claimed that the joint statement made during the recent meeting between ASEAN foreign ministers as a consistent stance that is in line with the spirit of unity among ASEAN member states.
“The statement called for continued support for the development of sustainable oil palm industries.
“ASEAN’s major oil palm producing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand will use all available resources to oppose the trade barrier by the EU Parliament, including through the ASEAN framework,” he said
The discussion was also joined by high ranking executives from both ministries, and issues related to commodity-based trading industries such as oil palm and rubber were reviewed.
On the previous ASEAN summit in Manila last year, heads of ASEAN countries released a joint statement to support the development of sustainable oil palm industries.
This statement was also brought to the attention of Donald Tusk, the EU President by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister with Joko Widodo the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
For the rubber industries, the discussion from both parties focused on the steps to stabilize global rubber prices.
In this regard, Mah gave his assurance that Malaysia will honour the rubber export quota as agreed according to the Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS) made during the International Rubber Tripartite Countries (ITRC) on 22nd December 2017.
The closed meeting was also joined by high ranking executives from both ministries, and discussed the issues related to commodity-based trading industries such as oil palm and rubber.
Joined by high ranking executives from both ministries, the three ITRC countries agreed to limit the export of natural rubber to 350,000 tonnes for the first three months of 2018 during the meeting .
The readiness of ITRC countries in obliging the stated quota is important in ensuring this mechanism will bring a positive impact towards global natural rubber prices.
Apart from being the largest rubber producer and exporter globally, Thailand is also the third largest producer of palm oil, with an estimated production of almost 2.5 million tonnes in 2017.