Opening Remarks by H.E. Madam Teresa Kok

Delivered by H. E, Madam Teresa Kok, the Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia, at the Official Opening of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (MMPOPC), 18 November 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

His Excellency Mr Airlangga Hartarto

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Indonesia

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Palm Oil Producing Countries

Honourable Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar

Deputy Minister of Primary Industries

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Dr. Tan Yew Chong

Secretary General

Ministry of Primary Industries, Malaysia

Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron

Executive Director

Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries

Members of the Distinguished Delegation

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning and a warm welcome to Your Excellencies Ministers, Deputy Ministers and all distinguished delegates to the second “Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (2nd MMPOPC)”.

2. The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) is an inter-governmental organisation established in November 2015 by Malaysia and

Indonesia to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among palm oil producing countries. The objective is to ensure long term benefits of such palm oil endeavours to the economic development and well-being of the people of the member countries. Today, I am very indeed glad to announce

that CPOPC’s representation have expanded to include Colombia as the latest council member pending final ratification from its Government. Colombia has been a keen observer who has participated actively and supported all our activities since its application as a council member was accepted in November 2017. Thank you, Colombia.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

3. Palm oil has become as one of the main or important export commodities for countries that are endowed with the suitable climate for cultivating oil palm. The cultivation of oil palm has not only generated significant foreign exchange and job creation in rural areas, but also offers vast economic potential for higher value-addition activities. These includes refining of palm oil, as well as downstreaming activities in the food, energy and industrial sectors. Palm oil, therefore, represents a key commodity in fulfilling the economic and social aspirations of the developing economies.

4. In order to ensure the continued presence of palm oil in the global economy, we will need to address a host of challenges. Firstly, there is a need to improve the productivity of smallholders. As we all know, smallholders are an important part of the palm oil supply chain. Although many receive support from government schemes and or local mills, there are large numbers of independent smallholders that remain largely unsupported. As the palm oil industry positions itself to be more sustainable, there is a possibility that some of these independent smallholders may be left behind.

5. Secondly, the palm oil sector which has been over reliant on the first level of processing in the past decades, must now transform and set its course towards increasing its GDP contribution from the downstream segment in the coming years. However, this has been painstakingly slow and requires further intervention from the Government.

6. Thirdly, growing emphasis and demand for sustainably produced palm oil and championing of environmental cause by major importing countries, which may be deemed as non-tariff trade barriers may further bring detrimental impact on the demand for palm oil. Palm oil is a strategic

commodity for producing countries, thus, such trade barriers is an aggressive protectionist measure and can potentially become a threat to the countries’ national interests. As such, it is crucial that all palm oil producing countries work hand-in-hand and stand united to defend this noble pursuit of enriching the economic interest of its people without compromising sustainability goals.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

7. The objective of the Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (MMPOPC) is to open up discussions among member countries in order to seek solutions and exchange views of common interest. In particular, the CPOPC wishes to explore areas of mutual interest, and work together by sharing our common experiences, as well as identify and optimise opportunities. Thus, it is my hope that this meeting will provide the perfect platform for networking with defined common interests and goals underpin by relevant initiatives as palm oil producing countries.

8. The 2nd November 2017 Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of Palm Oil Producing Countries (MMPOPC) in Bali, Indonesia were attended by representatives from seven countries namely Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Thailand as well as representatives from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as resource persons.

9. The meeting agreed on several resolutions including:

• to promote positive collaboration and objective perspectives on palm oil, such as fostering dialogue among stakeholders;

• to establish working committees in areas of mutual interest, coordinated by CPOPC in order to strengthen collaboration; and

• possibility to make CPOPC as a major organisation representing the interests of the oil palm cultivating countries.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

10. I must say that this 2nd MMPOPC could not be more timely and we must not waiver and should continue to push these resolutions until it becomes a reality. At today’s meeting, we would like to discuss on recent developments in the palm oil industry as well as progresses made in relation to emerging global issues on sustainability criteria, certification schemes, environmental protection, market access and international trade policies.

11. This meeting will also update the current situation of the industry, presented by selected “friends of palm oil” experts on crucial issues such as sustainable livelihood of smallholders and capacity building schemes for smallholders and farmers, which can potentially be facilitated by CPOPC.

12. Addressing the discrimination and negativity against palm oil is crucial, while promoting concrete and measurable progress in achieving sustainable standards and criteria. In this regards, the 2nd MMPOPC will strive to establish closer cooperation and collaboration with “friends of palm oil” by inviting them to participate and support our activities worldwide.

13. I welcome and encourage all the delegates to give their honest opinions and comments on these topics as well as raise other concerns that the palm oil producing countries are facing in their own respective countries, and offer suggestions on how to address the issues and move forward in unison.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

14. In line with it’s Charter, CPOPC would like to take this opportunity to welcome more palm oil producing countries and observers countries to become member of CPOPC. I firmly believe the CPOPC, will provide the important platform for member countries to move forward in solidarity and strengthen the palm oil industry. In addition, CPOPC can also play the intermediary role for palm oil producing countries to work with other international bodies and associations for the benefit of the palm oil industry. I would like to extend my invitation to all producing countries who are present here today to forward their formal notification to the Secretariat to become an observer country with no cost obligations and benefitting from all the programs and activities being implemented by CPOPC.

15. Recently, CPOPC had completed the study on the “Development of Strategic Master Plan for Reaching Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs 2030 in the Palm Oil Sector” focusing on five palm oil producing countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia and Nigeria. The study has reaffirmed that higher SDGs targets are achieved in countries where oil palm is planted. It counters a number of myths with facts and analysis such as delinking oil palm plantation to deforestation and extinction of species. Besides that the study also successfully measured the level of impact of the palm oil sector to each SDG indicator. In the simplest form, the study concluded that without palm oil, there is no SDGs.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

16. The ‘Certified Sustainable Palm Oil Forum organized by Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC) will be held this afternoon in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. All the delegations are cordially invited to attend the forum. In addition, this meeting also coincides with the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC 2019) organized by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) from 19th – 21st November 2019. Among the highlights of PIPOC 2019 will be a keynote address by Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. All Member of Delegations are cordially invited to join the Opening Session and Plenary Lectures tomorrow.

17. I am confident that the both ‘Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) Forum’ and ‘the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition, PIPOC 2019’ will be equally interesting and useful for the delegates.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

19. Before I conclude, I would like to record my appreciation to the Prime Minister Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in facilitating the invitation to the Head of Delegates and to accord them with the Guest Status of the Government of Malaysia. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia, and Embassy of Colombia to Indonesia in Jakarta for making this meeting a success. Last but not the least, a special thank you to the Secretariat and all the supporting ministries for the arrangements for making this second MMPOPC possible.

Thank you.

YB MadamTeresa Kok

Minister of Primary Industries 18 November 2019