Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysia warns EU over palm oil policy

Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has warned the EU that it risks starting a trade war with Malaysia, due to the bloc's policies relating to the use of palm oil.

Earlier in March, the European Commission decided to phase out the use of palm oil in transportation fuel by 2030, after concluding that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation.

Malaysia is the world's second largest producer of palm oil, and it is concerned that decreasing demand for palm oil could impact hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Dr Mahathir, 93, said the EU's changing attitude towards palm oil was due to a desire to protect European alternatives to palm oil, such as rape seed oil.

"To do that kind of thing to win a trade war is unfair," Dr Mahathir told Reuters.

"Trade wars are not something we like to promote but on the other hand it is grossly unfair for rich people to try and impoverish poor people."

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