Jokowi´s Palm Oil Diplomacy in G20 Summit

Monday, 10 July 2017 , 17:00:00 WIB - Economy

President Joko Widodo with leaders and first ladies of G20 member nations. (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – President Joko Widodo was present in the G20 Summit not only to strengthen the economic partnership between the member nations. Jokowi also used the forum to start a diplomacy on palm oil, particularly with European countries so they would stop their black campaign against Indonesian palm oil.

Jokowi delivered a statement against the black campaign when he met the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy Brey, at Hamburg Messe, the location where the G20 Summit was held, Germany, Friday (7/7). Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno Marsudi, who accompanied President Joko Widodo also said that the President is concerned with the black campaign from European countries against Indonesian palm oil products.

"The President asks Spain to help to give fair treatment to Indonesian palm oil products," Retno Marsudi said as quoted by setkab.go.id.

The discussion between Jokowi and Mariano focused on the partnership issues in the context of the strategic industry. "It’s because Indonesia and Spain have cooperated in the strategic industry since 1976, and it improves to matters that give benefits to Indonesia, for instance, Bandung is currently enacted as an assembling center for Airbus defense and space products for Asia Pacific region or market," Retno said.

The request to stop Europe from launching a black campaign against Indonesian palm oil was also delivered by President Jokowi when he met the Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte, at Hotel Steigenberger, Hamburg, Germany, Saturday (8/7). In the meeting, Jokowi stated that Indonesian palm oil is attacked by a black campaign in Europe.

"Lately, the European Parliament issued a resolution on palm oil and deforestation. Indonesia’s explanation before the resolution was ignored," the President said.

Although the resolution doesn’t legally bind executives, Jokowi asserted that Indonesia is worried that the black campaign and discrimination would aggrieve Indonesian palm oil export. "I want the Netherlands to apply a fair export of Indonesian palm oil to Europe," Jokowi said.

Indonesia is currently struggling to resolve the issues of Indonesian palm oil products in entering Europe. Indonesia’s delegations in the 13th Trade Policy Review on the European Union (EU) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) also asked the EU to pay attention to the obstacles from the EU against imported products from Indonesia, particularly palm oil.

Trade Ministry’s International Relations Expert Staff Dody Edward said to the EU delegation that Indonesia is the biggest supplier of palm oil to the EU. "Therefore, we feel unfortunate with the trade issues on Indonesian palm oil export to the EU," Dody said in the forum at Geneva, Swiss, Wednesday (5/7) as quoted from kemlu.go.id.

He also stated that Indonesia feels unfortunate that the Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforest approved by the European Parliament in April 2017 that discriminates palm oil products from the other vegetable oil products. "The resolution is inaccurate, and the EU must accept the Indonesian Government’s hard work in managing and promoting sustainable palm oil products," Dody Edward added.

The EU delegation said that the European Parliament resolution doesn’t legally bind the European Commission executive body, and it doesn’t oblige the European Commission to follow it up with a formulation of law that’s legally binding. However, Dody Edward considers that the resolution makes clear the black campaign against palm oil in the EU. (dtc)

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