Will Keep Fighting, Indonesia Discusses Implications of European Regulations on Deforestation-Free Commodities

President Jokowi Officially Lifts the Status of the COVID-19 Pandemic (photo: https://setkab.go.id)

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) conducted a meeting with several officials to discuss the European Union Deforestation-Free Regulations (EUDR) and its implementation. The meeting, held at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Thursday (13/7/2023), focused on addressing the concerns and implications of the regulations in relation to various Indonesian commodities.

Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto emphasized the government’s attention to the regulations enacted in Europe and expressed the President’s desire for the implementation guidelines to adopt existing best practices.

He highlighted the importance of incorporating successful initiatives such as the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) for timber products and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for palm oil commodities.

Airlangga stated, “We want the implementation guidelines to adopt what has already been established as best practices, including SVLK for timber, RSPO for palm oil, and the recent joint mission with Malaysia for MSPO,” during a media briefing at the Presidential Palace complex.

Furthermore, Airlangga highlighted the significant impact of the European policy on seven key Indonesian commodities, including cattle, cocoa, palm oil, soybeans, timber, and rubber.

The policy requires that goods or commodities entering Europe be free from deforestation, conforming to the respective laws of each country and undergoing feasibility tests. Additionally, countries will be classified into three risk categories: high risk, standard risk, and low risk.

Airlangga expressed concerns about the potential repercussions of the policy, estimating its impact on 15-17 million Indonesian smallholders and Indonesian products valued at up to US$7 million.

He emphasized the detrimental effect on smallholders, stating, “This will greatly disrupt smallholders. 15-17 million smallholders will be affected by this, and we also have objections to the geolocation issue because there is no need to check the geolocation of every product since we have RSPO and SVLK standards.”

Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan also raised concerns about the discriminatory nature of the European Union Deforestation-Free Regulations, as it specifically targets Indonesian products and imposes strict requirements to ensure freedom from deforestation practices.

Zulkifli Hasan asserted that the government will actively engage with other affected countries to collectively address the challenges posed by this policy.

The meeting underscored the importance of addressing the European regulations and their potential impact on Indonesian commodities. The government is committed to finding solutions that protect the interests of smallholders and uphold sustainable practices in the affected sectors.