Thursday, December 7, 2023

Portugal Sees Huge Rise in Palm Oil Imports from Indonesia

Jayanty Nada Shofa
July 24, 2023 | 4:44 pm
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi meets with her Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho in Jakarta on July 24, 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Foreign Affairs Ministry)
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi meets with her Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho in Jakarta on July 24, 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Foreign Affairs Ministry)

Jakarta. Portugal  -- a member of the European Union -- was shipping in more and more palm oil products from Indonesia despite the regional grouping’s tough stance on the commodity, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Monday.

Her remarks came after she met with her Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho in Jakarta. In a joint press conference, Retno brought Portugal’s attention to its growing palm oil imports from Indonesia, which even booked a double-digit growth.

“I appreciated Portugal’s trust in palm oil from Indonesia. Portugal’s import of palm oil from Indonesia increased by 77 percent from 2019 to 2022. The rise resulted from incentives from importing palm oil derivatives as biodiesel feedstock,” Retno told reporters.

In front of Cavinho, Retno even called the EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR) “discriminatory”. This policy requires traders and operators to prove their products do not come from lands that are subject to deforestation after the cut-off date of Dec. 31, 2020. Rubber and palm oil are among the commodities that are within the scope of the new rules.


“I reiterated during the conversation my concern on the number of discriminatory policies taken by the EU including the EUDR,” Retno said.

Cravinho did not say anything about Portugal’s Indonesian palm oil imports during the joint press briefing. The Portuguese diplomat, however, chose to talk more about other matters such as the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which is still under negotiations.

“The [CEPA] is very important for the [bilateral] economic relations, trade and investment. It is also very important to help shape the changing global geo economy,” Cravinho said, that the pact would hold political and strategic consequences.

The government reported that Indonesia-Portugal trade rose from $160.2 million in 2021 to $167.5 million the following year. Trading Economics data shows Indonesia exported $623,230 worth of animal, and vegetable fats and oils, as well as its cleavage products to Portugal in 2021. Indonesia's biggest exports to Portugal that year were footwear, gaiters, and the like, totaling $31.08 million in value.

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