Indonesia's vice-foreign minister Mahendra Siregar said Jakarta is reviewing a draft trade deal with the European Union (EU) in the run-up to filing a complaint against the trading bloc with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over use of palm oil in biofuels.
Mr Siregar said on Friday the government will take a close look at the proposed text of Indonesia's comprehensive economic agreement, currently under negotiation with the EU, to make sure palm oil is positioned "fairly" in the planned deal. Indonesia is the world's biggest producer and exporter of palm oil, used in everything from cookies to soap.
The European Commission concluded earlier this year that the palm oil industry contributed to deforestation, thus its use in renewable transport fuel must be phased out in the EU by 2030. The EU also imposed anti-subsidy tariffs on Indonesian biodiesel exports.
Indonesian government officials have accused EU of launching a "structured and systematic" campaign to block palm oil from the EU in order to remove competition against EU's homegrown vegetable oils.
Jakarta plans to file its case against the EU and its renewable energy directive sometime this month, Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, foreign trade director general at the Trade Ministry said last month.
(Source: Business Times)