Malaysian Palm Oil Council Steps in to End US Ban on Palm Oil
- 08-Feb-2023 5:51 PM
- Journalist: Kim Chul Son
Petaling Jaya [Malaysia]: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) is celebrating the lifting of a long-standing ban on its Palm oil products. This is the result of prolonged efforts from both Malaysian and US authorities to come to an agreement.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has conducted several dialogues and face-to-face encounters with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the US Department of Labour, and the State Department “to facilitate new dialogues and channels of communication”. The US authorities are working closely with their Malaysian counterparts to resolve the situation.
Palm oil companies in Malaysia recently received training to help them understand and identify forced labor practices. This training program was conducted in Kuala Lumpur with the assistance of the CBP.
The Malaysian Palm oil sector has taken immense strides to bolster their labour practices and prove real change. Belvinder Sron, acting CEO of MPOC, applauded the SDP for their tireless effort to introduce reforms for the recruitment and management of workers. These measures are being undertaken by the industry with a view to further ensure that all labour practices are up to standard and improved upon where possible.
“We look forward to continuing this dialogue with CBP and other US authorities, and to maintain open communication on these issues of mutual interest,” she stated.
In December 2020, the US authorities enacted a ban on the importation of SDP's palm oil products due to suspicions of abusive labor practices.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that they had been informed previously of the presence of all 11 indicators of forced labor as identified by the International Labour Organization (ILO). This evidence "reasonably indicated" the possible use of forced labor in the region.
The signs of distress were- clear restriction of mobility, intimidation and threats, the withholding of wages, the retention of identity documents, and excessive overtime. Last April, Sime Darby submitted a report to the CBP that contradicted the claims made against them. The CBP confirmed receipt on January 31st.