Malaysia’s Mahathir calls for palm oil trade deal with the UK

'We hope to avoid a trade war with Europe. But if one transpires, that doesn't mean the UK has to get caught in the crossfire,' the prime minister said.

Malaysia's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday urged the United Kingdom (UK) to work out a trade deal on palm oil with Southeast Asian nations once it leaves the European Union (EU) on October 31.

‘A fresh attitude toward palm oil, unencumbered by influential special-interest groups, could lead to even better trade terms between the UK and the region than it currently enjoys,’ said Malaysia prime minister Dr Mahathir in an opinion piece for Bloomberg.

‘We hope to avoid a trade war with Europe. But if one transpires, that doesn't mean the UK has to get caught in the crossfire,’ he added.

Earlier this year, the European Commission had announced plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources by 2030 and said it will, when considering a renewable product, take into account its impact on deforestation.

The announcement threatens the consumption of palm oil in that region.

In April, Malaysian and Indonesian leaders signed a joint letter to object to the European Union’s plans to phase out the use of palm oil in renewable fuel.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia supply a combined 85% of the world’s palm oil.

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