Dealing with the paradox of the versatility of palm oil.

TECHNICAL REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS. The versatility of palm oil and its extensive use in food industrial and energy applications means that this commodity and downstream products have to meet very stringent technical regulations and standards on health, safety and quality grounds.

These regulations may be derived at the global level from specialized agencies such as the FAO and UNIDO, but there are also regional and national regulations that are issued to protect consumers and users of palm oil and palm oil products. In addition, voluntary standards are increasingly being adopted.

In the context of the WTO, national regulations should be submitted to the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (TBT) to allow Members to comment on whether the proposed regulations concerned are commensurate to the objectives to be achieved and as such do not represent barriers to trade. Part of this assessment includes whether the Regulation should apply to both domestic industries and imports alike with no discrimination.

There are three elements of concern with regard to palm oil and technical regulations and standards:

  1. The development and promotion of national technical regulations and standards to allow the marketing of palm oil and products on the grounds that they meet evolving health safety and quality requirements.
  2. The promotion of voluntary standards that confer additional benefits for palm oil and products especially on health and quality grounds.
  3. The introduction of technical regulations that are used as a guise for protectionism in countries that have strong competing products.


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