Greenpeace block Malaysian palm oil company IOI at Rotterdam Port

Reuters 27 Sep 16;

Greenpeace activists on Tuesday blocked operations of Malaysian palm oil trader IOI at Rotterdam Port, accusing it of forest destruction and child labor, but other traffic at Europe's busiest port was unaffected, a port spokesman said.

Ten activists are blocking IOI, one of the world's biggest producers and traders of palm oil, from accessing its refinery, and the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is preventing oil from being unloaded from incoming tankers, Greenpeace said.

The action, which began mid-morning, was focused only on one mooring place used for palm oil coming from Indonesia and was therefore not disrupting other traffic, port spokesman Tie Schellekens said.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb had traveled to the spot in order to seek a compromise.

"There is no resolution yet," Schellekens said.

IOI could not immediately be reached for comment.

In April, the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) withdrew IOI's 'sustainability certification' after allegations the company had illegally chopped down rainforests in Indonesia and planted palm crops on peatland.

But the body announced in August that IOI had satisfied conditions for the suspension to be lifted, a move that has sparked sharp criticism from environmental groups.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

PM Najib allays German concerns over palm oil practices
A. JALIL HAMID New Straits Times 27 Sep 16;

BERLIN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak used his rare visit to Germany to assuage concerns of the German government and the industry over the environmental impact of Malaysia's palm oil cultivation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier raised the issue over the sustainability of palm oil plantations during their bilateral talks at the Federal chancellery here.

At the joint press conference, Najib said he welcomed the visit of German lawmakers to Malaysia to see for themslves how Malaysia manages its palm oil industry.

“There is no such thing as slash and burn,” he told the media. “Our palm oil industry has been developed in a sustainable manner.

We need to develop it in a responsible and sustainable manner and this is exactly what Malaysia is doing.”

During the hour-long talks over lunch, both leaders spoke of the growing economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries. Merkel said Malaysia has been a success story economically and socially.

Najib said he regarded Germany as an important and strategic partner to Malaysia and hoped his first official visit as prime minister would help lift ties even further.

Both leaders also discussed the Syrian crisis, the refugee issue, global terrorism, the South China Sea issue, and the issues of rule of law and good governance in Malaysia.

Najib praised Merkel over her stance on refugee humanitarian policy, adding that it was a strong and “morally ethical” position by her.

Najib said the issue of Syrian and other refugees should be tackled at source and not to burden other countries. “Malaysia will play its part.

We are not a major power but certainly within the context of OIC.” Merkel said she raised the issue of corruption, the resumption of Malaysia-EU free trade talks, the situation in Asean as a whole, Malaysia-China relations and common challenges such as global security.

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