The European Union introduced the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) on December 6th 2022. The objective of this regulation is to stop importing goods that came from deforested land, including palm oil. Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil exporter, responds.
The chairman of the Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers Association (Apkasindo), Gulat Manurung called bluff on the newly-introduced EUDR, ensuring that Indonesia should not fear losing the European market even after the regulation is ratified.
He told the Groningen Observer, “You see, the Europeans are always going on and on about their strict regulations, but the fact is, they need our palm oil, so what are they gonna do about it?” He added, “We’ve been through this push-and-pull thing with them for years, but in the end, they always come back for our palm oil.”
Manurung believes that Indonesian palm oil farmers should not worry too much about meeting the European standard for palm oil, for he claims that the Indonesian palm oil industry has complied with the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) guidelines.
According to the Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Institute (PASPI), the consumption of vegetable oils in European Union nations will be dominated by imported palm oil. This is shown by the sheer volume of palm oil consumption that has kept increasing since 2010, more specifically, there has been an increase of palm oil consumption in Europe from 4.7 million tons in 2010 to 6.7 million tons in 2021.
The EU introduced the European Union Deforestation Regulation which sets mandatory due diligence rules for companies that want to export their products to the EU. This was done to ensure that all goods that enter the European market will not contribute to deforestation; operators and traders will have to prove that their products are produced on land that was not subjected to deforestation after December 2020, it also seeks to impose penalties on any imported products linked to deforestation.
This regulation is seen as “discriminative” by Indonesian palm oil farmers, who believe that the EU should take into account the existing conditions of Indonesian palm oil plantations.
“The oil palm that’s planted in 2020 will not be harvested until 2024, so how could they restrict products that don’t even exist yet,” said Gulat Manurung.
In this case, the EU ensures that there would be more negotiations done throughout 2023, and that areas of cooperation between the EU and Indonesia could continue undisturbed, as reported by the Jakarta Post.
European Union Ambassador to Indonesia, Vincent Piket told reporters that “Indonesia’s track record to stop deforestation is marked. The cut-off date was December 2022, and there are also no penalties for what happened in the past,”
Piket added that there would be more to explain regarding this regulation and its implementations, saying that the EU will push for more “technical briefings” to convince the public that the environmental regulation can be made to work.