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Agriculture Asia Palm Oil

Malaysia takes aim at French palm oil tax

France’s new tax on palm oil imports it deems unsustainable could threaten another vegoil-focused EU/SE Asia trade war at the WTO, according to Malaysian palm association MPOC.

The new tax could breach the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement if the law is proved to be more trade restrictive than necessary and fails to meet its professed purpose of reducing deforestation and preventing biodiversity loss, MPOC said in a sponsored electronic newsletter.

The law will also “likely” fail the national treatment provisions of the GATT agreement, which require imports to be given the same treatment as domestic products, the newsletter said.

“Its reasonably clear that France is fully aware that it takes a while for these cases to be resolved,” the newsletter said. “In which case, a country like Malaysia or Indonesia could easily dangle the threat of looking at non-French suppliers for defence contracts, or locking French suppliers out of bids on infrastructure projects,” it said.

MS – 31/03/2016

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