Cantons want palm oil off the table in Indonesia and Malaysia free trade talks

Palm oil plantations have been blamed for large-scale deforestation Keystone

The parliament of canton Geneva has voted for a resolution to exclude palm oil and its derivatives from free trade negotiations with Indonesia and Malaysia. Five other Swiss cantons have launched similar measures. 

This content was published on February 24, 2018

Exercising its right of cantonal initiative, Geneva canton’s parliamentarians voted unanimously for a resolution to this effect. Around sixty deputies have signed the text. Christina Meissner, an independent parliamentarian and the first signatory, called attention to the catastrophic environmental and social consequences of oil palm plantations on Friday. 

She also denounced the potential repercussions of facilitated entry of palm oil into the Swiss market, particularly the impact on indigenous production of rapeseed and sunflower oil. The negative effects of trans fats in palm oil on health also convinced several parliamentarians to denounce easy access. 

Geneva is not the first canton to sound the alarm. The cantons of Thurgau, Bern, Fribourg, Vaud and Jura have also launched similar procedures. 

Indonesia is the world's largest producer of palm oil and Malaysia is in second place. These two countries supply 85% of the palm oil consumed worldwide.

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