‘Abolition of import duty on sustainable palm oil’

The Netherlands will urge the European Commission in Brussels to abolish European import duty on sustainably-produced crude palm oil.

Minister Verhagen of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation announced the government’s plan at the opening of the new Neste oil refinery in Rotterdam, Europe’s largest refinery for biodiesel and sustainably-produced fuel. Palm oil is a key raw material for biofuels, and has various applications, including use in diesel engines.

“This is a great example of how innovation can lead to green growth”, said Minister Verhagen. “I will continue to press for removal of obstacles that stand in the way of innovation, such as import duty on sustainable palm oil.”

Enterprise, civil society organisations and the government all support the aim to achieve a sustainable palm oil market in the Netherlands by 2015. However, due to high costs, demand has failed to keep up with rising levels of supply. This discourages farmers and business in palm oil producing countries from making their operations more sustainable.

To increase market demand for sustainably-produced palm oil, Minister Verhagen will call on the EU to act swiftly to cut the import duty on sustainably-produced palm oil compared to conventionally-produced palm oil. He will present this proposal within the framework of the EU negotiations with Malaysia about a free trade agreement.

Each year Dutch industry imports 1.7 million tonnes of crude palm oil. In 2010 this represented a market value of over €1 billion. Imports to the Netherlands account for approximately 40% of total EU imports of crude palm oil. Around three quarters of this is re-exported, mainly to refineries or for processing into other products. Approximately 70% of imported palm oil is processed into food products.