Working group formed by Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia to tackle palm oil dumping

Philippine agriculture secretary Emmanuel Pinol said in a Facebook post the trio have agreed to form a tripartite technical working team to address the issue.

The Philippines will be forming a ‘technical working group’ with Malaysia and Indonesia to deal with the concerns over alleged smuggling and dumping of palm oil in its country, a situation which caused the prices of coconut oil in the country to sink and hurt local farmers.

The announcement was made by the Philippine agriculture secretary Emmanuel Pinol in a Facebook post, saying that the trio have agreed to form a tripartite technical working team to address the issue.

The agreement was reached yesterday following a call made with the Malaysian and Indonesian government representatives, Mr Pinol said. Last week, the country had made a temporary ban on palm oil imports from the world’s two largest producers.

Importation data gathered from the Philippine Department of Agriculture revealed that the export of palm oil to the Philippines from both Indonesia and Malaysia have increased by 100% over the last three years, shared Mr Pinol.

Because palm oil is cheaper than coconut oil, the increase in the export of palm oil was attributed as a reason behind the collapse of coconut prices, he said.

Recommendations to protect the local coconut and palm oil industry

Through the working group, the countries will draft recommendations on the rationalization of palm oil exports to the Philippines.

Mr Pinol recommended to keep palm oil exports by Malaysia and Indonesia at levels which would not hurt the Philippine coconut and local palm oil industry. He called for the two countries to check on the reports of the smuggling of crude and refined palm oil into the Philippines.

He also suggested for the opening up of the Malaysian and Indonesian markets for coconut products, so as to correct the trade imbalance.

Indonesia’s trade ministry official Pradnyawati Pambagyo confirmed the meeting on Thursday with Reuters, saying that the tripartite group will ‘recalculate the Philippines' import needs to avoid oversupply’ and discuss issues related to the palm supply chain.

Read more on Malaysian palm oil price sink to 1-week low on high inventories.

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