Fri, 05 Jun 2009
Jakartan (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government regrets the decision of the US State of Minnesota to ban the use of biodiesel made of palmoil as of June 1, 2009 for environmental reasons, a minister said.

Agriculture minister Anton Apriyantono said here on Thursday the Indonesian government regretted the regulation which was issued without prior information or notification to the World Trade Organization.

He said "although the ban is only effective in the state it is feared it will be followed by other US states," he said explaining the results of his recent visit to the US and Greece.

Anton said the ban had also been issued in connection with problems such as exploitation of peat lands, killing of wild animals and forest fires.

He said Indonesia had already explained to the US government during the official visit on May 25-26, 2009 that oilpalm plantation development in the country met the principles of sustainability.

Indonesia has so far exported palmoil to the US indirectly through a third party namely Wilmar International.

"The trade issue is currently being followed up by the Indonesian embassy in the US. Until now however there has been no report yet whether the explanation had led to the revocation of the ban or not," he said.

The director general of plantations of the ministry of agriculture, Achmad Manggabarani, meanwhile said Indonesia`s crude palmoil sale to Europe in January 2010 would also face carbon footprint problems.

The European Union requires gas emission of biofuel production must be 35 percent.

The deputy chairman of the Indonesia Palmoil Council, Derom Bangun, said the standard was set based on emission of carbon dioxide of fossil fuels such as diesel.

He said his office was now still negotiating with Germany with regard to the problem.

Derom said the requirement was difficult to meet because if all palmoil wastes were processed maximally it would only reach 32 percent while for unsupervised palmoil process the percentage would reach 16.

"Why 35 percent. How they come to it," he said.

He said Indonesia had to conduct a research to produce materials for negotiations with the EU.

He said the only company that could certify was Suconfindo and so far only PT Musi Mas that had received certification for its two plants in Riau while PT Hindoli in South Sumatre is still waiting for it.

Derom said Indonesia`s crude palmoil sales had dropped following global crisis.

Production this year is estimated to reach 20 million tons a year while domestic consumption is estimated to reach 4.5-5.0 million tons a year while 15 million tons are exported. "The target is difficult to meet," he said.(*)



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