Indonesia is Still Struggling with The Neocolonialism that Inhibit Palm Oil

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The atmosphere of the celebration of Indonesia’s independence day can still be felt even though we have arrived at the end of August this year. The euphoria of the celebration is also interpreted by recalling the struggle of the proclaimers and heroes to achieve independence after approximately 350 years of being colonized by foreign nations who tormented all Indonesian people.

Indonesia
Source: suarajakarta.co

Even though Indonesia has become an independent country and free from the shackles of colonialism, in this era, Indonesia is also still facing a new style of colonialism (neocolonialism) which is different from the colonialism of 75 years ago. “Neocolonialism” is not interpreted literally, but means that there are obstacles for Indonesia to become a global player in a vegetable oil market and achieve optimalization of Indonesian welfare.

Since 2006, when Indonesia has succeeded in becoming the largest producer of palm oil in the world as well as being the largest producer of vegetable oil and being able to shift the dominance of soybean oil and rapeseed oil in the global market, more intensive of neocolonialism faced by the Indonesian palm oil industry. Western countries such as the European Union and the United States, which are also producers of rapeseed oil and soybean oil, through their policies appear to be hampering palm oil exports to their countries.

One of the policies that is still a hot topic of discussion for palm oil industry players at the national and global levels is the RED II ILUC policy issued by the European Union Commission. In this policy, the EU set a target by 2030 of 32 percent of the use of renewable energy, with 14 percent of the use of renewable energy in the transportation sector. The use of first biofuel generation (biodiesel raw material/feedstock which can also be used as food/feed) is classified as high indirect land use change risk will be drastically reduced since 2020 and must be eliminated (zero percent) by 2030.

ILUC (Indirect Land Use Change) referred to in the policy, if the production process of feedstock/biofuel raw materials (including biodiesel) causes the food/feed area to decrease (as a result of being converted to production area for biofuel raw materials) and triggers the conversion of forest or land with high stock of carbon into food/feed land. To determine which biofuels should be reduced or eliminated is based on ILUC emission criteria for feedstock will be regulated in the Delegated Regulation of ILUC-RED II.

The policy is considered to discriminate against palm oil. This is because according to the indicators used in the ILUC Delegated Regulation, palm oil is classified as a high risk Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) so that palm oil must be phase out in the use of European biodiesel. This means that the European Commission considers that the negative impact arising from the indirect conversion of forest land into land for biodiesel feedstock is considered a “sin” for oil palm plants and palm oil producers must be held responsible for this.

To fight discrimination against palm oil by the European Commission, the Indonesian government filed a lawsuit against the WTO as a trade organization at the international level. Minister of Trade, Agus Suparmanto, sent a letter requesting consultation as the initial stage of the lawsuit which was sent on December 2019 to the European Union. The lawsuit is a form of the seriousness of the Indonesian government about discrimination against palm oil which is considered incompatible with WTO principles, because the impact that it causes is very large, namely inhibiting the export of Indonesian palm oil and biodiesel to European countries and giving a bad image to palm oil and its derivative products.

On the #PalmINATalk Webinar, Hasan Kleib, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, WTO and other international organizations in Geneva, revealed that apart from ILUC policies, Indonesia also sued the European Union’s policies which were considered to discriminate against palm oil, namely the Commission Delegated Regulation and French Fuel Tax. He’s also said that the request for negotiation submitted by the Indonesian government did not produce results even the panel submission was also rejected by the European Union Commission.

After was delayed due to the Covid pandemic, the latest update regarding Indonesia’s lawsuit against the European Union has been stage of formation of a panel by the WTO or a request for establishment of a panel which indicates that RED II’s lawsuit will enter the adjudication stage. At this stage the panel will produce a decision that the applicant can accept as well as the respondent makes.

However, until now there has been no more recent update regarding Indonesia’s lawsuit on palm oil discrimination by the European Union Commission. Even so, we, as Indonesians who are known to be strong and never give up, must be optimistic about winning the lawsuit. The accusation by the European Union regarding palm biodiesel is not new, even a similar lawsuit has occurred in 2013 and the lawsuit was won by Indonesia.

Once again, the independence of the Republic of Indonesia must also be interpreted as a form of collective struggle for all Indonesian people against the injustice of colonialism. This spirit must still relevant with current condition and also be possessed by all levels of the Indonesian people, including the government, business actors, NGOs, the press, students, researchers, educators and the general public, to fight together and be united in “one language” in carrying out positive palm oil campaigns and defending the interests of palm oil from the interference of the neocolonialism, given the large contribution of palm oil and its derivative products to the economy and welfare of the Indonesian nation.

Suasana perayaan hari kemerdekaan Indonesia masih terasa meskipun kita telah sampai di penghujung bulan Agustus tahun ini. Euforia perayaan tersebut juga di maknai dengan mengingat kembali perjuangan para proklamator dan pahlawan untuk bisa mencapai kemerdekaan setelah kurang lebih selama 350 tahun dijajah oleh bangsa asing yang menyengsarakan seluruh rakyat Indonesia.

Indonesia
Source: suarajakarta.co

Meskipun Indonesia sudah menjadi negara yang merdeka dan lepas dari belenggu kolonialisme namun di era ini,  Indonesia juga masih menghadapi kolonialisme gaya baru (neokolonialisme) yang berbeda dengan kolonialisme saat 75 tahun yang lalu. “Neokolonialisme” yang dimaksud tidak diinterpretasikan secara harfiah, tetapi dimaknai dengan adanya hambatan bagi Indonesia untuk menjadi global player dalam pasar minyak nabati dan mencapai kesejahteraan yang optimal bagi seluruh rakyatnya.

Sejak tahun 2006, saat Indonesia berhasil menjadi produsen terbesar minyak sawit di dunia sekaligus menjadi produsen terbesar minyak nabati dan mampu menggeser dominasi minyak kedelai dan minyak rapeseed di pasar global, semakin intensif pula tindakan neokolonialisme yang dihadapi oleh industri minyak sawit Indonesia.Negara barat seperti Uni Eropa dan Amerika Serikat yang juga merupakan negara produsen minyak rapeseed dan minyak kedelai, melalui kebijakannya terkesan menghambat ekspor minyak sawit ke negaranya.

Salah satu kebijakan masih menjadi perbincangan hangat para pelaku industri sawit baik di tingkat nasional maupun global adalah kebijakan RED II ILUC yang dikeluarkan oleh Komisi Uni Eropa. Dalam kebijakan tersebut, EU menetapkan target tahun 2030 penggunaan renewable energy 32 persen, dengan 14 persen penggunaan renewable energy pada sektor transportasi. Penggunaan first biofuel generation (bahan baku biodiesel yang juga dapat digunakan sebagai bahan pangan/pakan) tergolong high indirect land use change risk akan dikurangi secara drastis sejak tahun 2020 dan harus ditiadakan (nol persen) pada tahun 2030.

ILUC (Indirect Land Use Change) yang dimaksud dalam kebijakan tersebut, jika dalam proses produksi bahan baku biofuel (termasuk biodiesel) menyebabkan areal pangan/pakan berkurang (sebagai akibat dari terkonversi menjadi areal produksi bahan baku biofuel) dan memicu konversi hutan atau lahan dengan stok karbon tinggi menjadi lahan pangan/pakan. Untuk menetapkan biofuel mana yang harus dikurangi atau ditiadakan didasarkan kriteria emisi ILUC dari bahan baku biofuel akan diatur lebih lanjut dalam Delegated Regulation of ILUC-RED II.

Kebijakan tersebut dianggap mendiskriminasikan minyak sawit. Hal ini dikarenakan menurut indikator yang digunakan dalam Delegated Regulation ILUC, minyak sawit tergolong sebagai high risk Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) sehingga minyak sawit harus di phase out dalam pengunaan biodiesel Eropa. Artinya Komisi Eropa menganggap bahwa dampak negatif yang ditimbulkan konversi tidak langsung lahan hutan menjadi lahan bahan baku biodiesel ini dianggap sebagai “dosa” tanaman kelapa sawit dan produsen minyak sawit harus bertanggung jawab terhadap hal tersebut.

Untuk melawan diskriminasi terhadap minyak sawit tersebut yang dilakukan oleh Komisi Uni Eropa, Pemerintah Indonesia mengajukan gugatan kepada WTO sebagai organisasi perdagangan di level internasional. Menteri Perdagangan Agus Suparmanto mengirimkan surat permintaan konsultasi sebagai tahap inisiasi awal gugatan yang telah dikirimkan pada 9 Desember 2019 kepada Uni Eropa. Gugatan tersebut merupakan bentuk keseriusan Pemerintah Indonesia untuk diskiminasi terhadap minyak sawit yang dinilai tidak sesuai dengan prinsip WTO, karena dampak yang ditimbulkannya sangat besar yakni menghambat ekspor minyak sawit dan biodiesel Indonesia ke negara-negara Eropa hingga memberikan citra buruk terhadap minyak sawit maupun produk turunannya.

Dalam kesempatan Webinar #PalmINATalk, Hasan Kleib, Duta Besar/Wakil Tetap RI untuk PBB, WTO dan organisasi internasional lain di Jenewa mengungkapkan selain kebijakan ILUC, Indonesia juga menggugat kebijakan Uni Eropa yang dinilai mendiskriminasi minyak sawit yakni Commission Delegated Regulation dan French Fuel Tax. Hasan Kleib juga menyampaikan informasi bahwa permohonan perundingan yang diajukan oleh pemerintah Indonesia tidak membuahkan hasil bahkan pengajuan panel juga ditolak oleh Komisi Uni Eropa.

Setelah mengalami penundaan akibat pandemi Covid, update terbaru tentang gugatan Indonesia terhadap Uni Eropa telah memasuki fase pembentukkan panel oleh WTO atau request for establishment of a panel yang menandakan gugatan RED II akan memasuki tahap ajudikasi. Pada tahap ini panel akan menghasilkan putusan yang dapat diterima pemohon sekaligus dilakukan termohon.

Namun, hingga saat ini belum ada update terbaru lagi mengenai gugatan Indonesia atas diskiminasi minyak sawit yang dilakukan oleh Komisi Uni Eropa. Meskipun begitu, kita sebagai bangsa Indonesia yang dikenal kuat dan pantang menyerah, harus optimis menang dalam gugatan tersebut. Tudingan Uni Eropa terkait biodiesel sawit bukan hal yang baru bahkan kasus gugatan serupa juga pernah terjadi di tahun 2013 dan gugatan tersebut dimenangkan oleh Indonesia.

Sekali lagi, kemerdekaan RI juga harus dimaknai sebagai bentuk perjuangan bersama seluruh rakyat Indonesia dalam melawan ketidakadilan kolonialisme. Semangat tersebut juga masih relevan untuk kondisi saat ini dan harus dimiliki oleh seluruh lapisan rakyat Indonesia baik pemerintah, pelaku usaha, LSM, pers, mahasiswa, tenaga peneliti, tenaga pendidik dan masyarakat umum, untuk berjuang bersama-sama dan kompak dalam “satu bahasa” dalam melakukan kampanye positif sawit dan membela kepentingan sawit dari gangguan para penjajah neokolonialisme, mengingat besarnya kontribusi minyak sawit dan produk turunanannya terhadap perekonomian dan kesejahteraan bangsa Indonesia.

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