REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Denying the accusation that it launched a black campaign against Indonesian palm oil, the European Union (EU) said the market had put the label of "palm-oil free" in their products to attract their consumers. The EU Committee was not involved in the black campaign against palm oil which has changed market trends in the region, Charge d'Affaires of the EU Delegation to Indonesia Charles Michel-Geurts stated.
"The European Union as an institution has nothing to do with the campaign. It was the NGO and producers who made the branding in the products. It was their choice and strategy to catch the market," Michel-Geurts told a media briefing here Thursday.
Consumers in European countries are concerned about the risks of consuming certain products, he elaborated. Some companies have labelled their products as "palm-oil free" to meet the preference of consumers, similarly to the labels of "gluten-free" or pesticide-free" for other products.
"There are no rules in the EU regarding such campaigns. The only rule we have is when companies put the label of gluten-free, sugar-free, palm-oil free, they state the facts as the truth," he said.
EU is the second largest importer of Indonesian palm oil, but imports in 2018 declined 22 percent as compared to 2017. When palm oil prices dropped in 2018, the total export value of Indonesian palm oil and biodiesel to EU only declined two percent compared to 2017. During the first few months of 2019, Indonesian CPO import volume has increased by 0.7 percent, with the EU contributing the largest market share of 47 percent.