US import ban on FGV: Ministry to submit report to US to avoid further restrictions on commodity products

Yesterday, the US Department of Customs and Border Protection obtained a restraint release order to block all products by FGV Holdings Bhd. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Yesterday, the US Department of Customs and Border Protection obtained a restraint release order to block all products by FGV Holdings Bhd. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (KPPK) will submit a final report soon on the labour situation in the Malaysian oil palm plantation sector to the United States Labour Department and other international organisations to avoid further restrictions on Malaysian commodities.

Its minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the move was part of the initiative to remove the Malaysian oil palm plantation sector from the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorisation Act list.

“The element of labour management in the commodity plantation sector has been included as one of the conditions for the licensing of oil palm plantations under the Malaysian sustainable palm oil certification,” he said in a statement today.

The certification has been made mandatory on January 1, 2020.

He said the ministry had also presented a study on the labour situation in the oil palm plantation sector to the cabinet on July 24, 2020.

“KPPK will continue to hold engagement sessions with stakeholders to find effective solutions to address the issue,” Mohd Khairuddin said.

Yesterday, the US Department of Customs and Border Protection obtained a restraint release order to block all products by FGV Holdings Bhd.

According to the department, the import ban follows a year-long investigation which exposed the use of forced labour including fraud; restriction of movement; isolation; physical and sexual violence; intimidation and threats; storage of identity documents; salary retention; debt bondage; living conditions as well as overwork.

In a statement today, FGV expressed its disappointment over the restrictions as the major crude palm oil producer claimed that it had taken various measures to respect human rights and uphold workers’ standards.

“In our statement on September 26, we have noted that various actions have been taken by FGV to honour the commitment,” the company said.

Based on data released by KPPK, for the period January-July 2020, total exports of commodity-based products to the US stood at RM11.8 billion. — Bernama

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