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EU to give green light to Malaysian palm oil

Staff writer |
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault assured Malaysia that European rules on declaring product ingredients would not discriminate against palm oil.

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Malaysia is second in the production of palm oil which is blamed for the destruction of rain forest to make way for big plantations of the palm trees from which the edible oil is made.

The French Senate last year approved a quadrupling of the tax on palm oil despite protests from major producing nations Malaysia and the Ivory Coast, but the move was later rejected by France's lower house.

"I know how important it is to Malaysia given the number of people who rely on palm oil production for a living, in particular small producers," Mr. Ayrault told at a press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mr. Ayrault added that his government didn't support the tax hike but warned that under forthcoming European legislation it would soon be mandatory to list all the oils in products.

"But palm oil will not be treated any differently from other vegetable oils. There will therefore be no discrimination against it," said Mr. Ayrault.

The tax, known as the "Nutella amendment" because palm oil is a key ingredient in the chocolate spread, was proposed by a French senator on grounds that palm oil harms the environment and fuels obesity due to its high saturated fat content.

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