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Malaysia's FGV disappointed with US ban on its palm oil products

Malaysia's FGV disappointed with US ban on its palm oil products

A worker collects palm oil fruits at a plantation in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Jan 30, 2019. (File photo: REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil producer FGV Holdings has taken steps to fix allegations that it uses forced labour and is disappointed with the United States' ban on imports of its products over the claims, the company said on Thursday (Oct 1).

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued the ban on FGV's products on Wednesday after a year-long investigation that the agency alleges showed abuse, deception, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and the keeping of identity documents.

FGV is the world's largest producer of palm oil, used in everything from food to cosmetics. The company and other suppliers have faced past allegations of human rights abuses.

"FGV is disappointed that such decision has been made when FGV has been taking concrete steps over the past several years in demonstrating its commitment to respect human rights and to uphold labour standards," the company said in a statement.

READ: COVID-19 pandemic forces Malaysian palm industry to rethink reliance on foreign labour

The company said all the issues raised have been the subject of public discourse since 2015 and it has taken several steps to correct the situation, which are "documented and available in the public domain."

FGV will continue to engage with the CBP to clear its name, the company said.

Shares in FGV dropped as much as 6.1 per cent at the opening bell.

CBP said it was not able to share total imports by FGV but that the ban "will not have a significant impact on total US imports of palm oil and palm oil products".

There have been US$147 billion worth of US imports of palm oil products since August 2018, CBP said in an e-mail.

Source: Reuters/lk

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