US sustainable palm oil standards not based on data: Indonesian association

Jumat, 03 Februari 2012 | 07:40

Indonesian oil palm associations consider the US’ decision to suspend oil palm imports from the Southeast Asian country as a trade measure to weaken competition and will send a letter enquiring this matter.This rejection was made by the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) Secretary General Joko Supriyono, Gapki Executive Director Fadhil Hasan, Deputy I of the Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI) Derom Bangun, and the Indonesian Palm Oil Growers Association (Apkasindo) Secretary General Arsyad Asmar, contacted by Bisnis separately in Jakarta and Medan.

Joko said US’ plan to stop the crude palm oil (CPO) import from Indonesia as biofuel feedstock is a negative campaign against the country’s commodity. Joko said the US’ standards for sustainable palm oil aren’t based on clear data.

"This is no more than just negative campaign. The US and Europe have long attacked palm oil as it’s their trade competitor. The US and Europe also protect the vegetable oil (trade)."

The black campaign is conducted as Indonesia is one of the world's largest palm oil producers, said Joko. Gapki expects exports of CPO and its derivatives to rise 6.1% -9.1% to 17.5-18 million tons in 2012 from last year’s exports of 16.5 million tons.

Producers shouldn’t worry about the US’ action as its default emission target for crude palm oil is at 20%, he said. They said Indonesia’s CPO’s emission is only 17%.

This standard is similar to the provisions of the European Union, which set the default emission saving for CPO at 35%, while CPO is only 19%. "We also need to know where the 17% was coming from. The calculation must be verified," he said.

Reducing emissions

Vice Minister of Trade Bayu Krisnamurthi said a research conducted by the Indonesian and the European Union governments show that palm oil as biofuel feedstock could reduce emissions by 37% -49%.

Gapki’s Hasan said it would immediately send a letter requiring an explanation from the US about its plan to suspend imports of Indonesia’s CPO because it is not sustainable.

Apkaindo’s Arsyad Asmar said he would form a team to examine Indonesia's CPO. (T03/NOM)

By Sepudin Zuhri, Master Sihotang