KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will file a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by November to challenge a European Union move to phase out palm oil from being used in transport fuels in the bloc.
"We have already had a discussion with the AGC (Attorney-General Chambers). They are assisting and helping us identify some experts who can argue the case (with) the WTO. A lot of things are in place now," Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok told reporters after the opening for the 9th International Planters Conference on Monday (Jul 15).
Ms Kok said the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries will hold a ministerial meeting with Indonesia to discuss the issue.
"We want to know what are the proposals they want to come out with (regarding the palm oil biofuel restrictions by the EU), and definitely our case against the EU will also be discussed," she said.
She added that it would be strategically good for Malaysia and Indonesia to file a joint complaint.
The European Commission had earlier this year decided to phase out palm-based transport fuels in its share of renewable energy after concluding that its cultivation results in excessive deforestation.
This led Malaysia to threaten a WTO challenge to the EU move, while Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the EU risks opening up a trade war with Malaysia over its "grossly unfair" policies aimed at reducing the use of palm oil.
Malaysia is the world's second-biggest palm oil producer and exporter after Indonesia, and relies on the crop for billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Environmental groups said the production of palm oil has led to vast deforestation, leading to a loss of biodiversity and climate change.