Free trade with Indonesia – “Clean” palm oil Left crashes into the DilemmaDas free trade agreement between Switzerland and Indonesia for the first time contains provisions for the production of palm oil. Therefore, the SP is hesitant, with the support of the referendum.Fabian Fellmann0 comments concerning the rhyme of the palm oil business, there are many sustainability Labels: a worker in Indonesia at the time of Loading of the fruit of the oil Palm.Photo: zig-Maulana ()

The social Democrats have a hard time with the palm oil-free trade with Indonesia. You may need to obtain in a voting campaign for this Position, is virtually certain: The free trade agreement between Indonesia and Switzerland is expected to be submitted to the voting people. Left-wing organizations, under the leadership of the peasant Union Uniterre have already collected more than 56’000 signatures against it, as you told last week. 22. June wants to submit to the referendum Committee the signatures in Berne.

Although the SP-Federal house group has rejected the agreement last December that it is not supported the national party, the Referendum, at least so far. Because it is not a clear case, even for pronounced left SP-representative of how Foreign policy Fabian Molina, leaders of his party in Indonesia-Dossier. The free trade he is critical. “Given the climate crisis and the Corona pandemic, local production should be encouraged in chains the stronger,” says Zurich’s national Council.

a signal for other agreements

But Molina sees positive points in the free trade agreement with Indonesia, negotiated in Switzerland, together with the three other Efta countries-Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein-out. “The regulations on palm oil are a huge success for more sustainability,” he says. Specifically, the Efta countries have written for the first time in such a contract, the factory and the concrete product requirements, the person and environment in an emerging market country from exploitation, and although the much-criticized palm oil: Customs facilitation is only for palm oil with a sustainability label.

“This has a signal effect for further free trade agreements such as that with Malaysia,” says Molina. This is currently being negotiated and is also highly controversial: in the middle of June the Parliament will deal with three cantonal initiatives from Bern, Jura and Fribourg, which call for the Exclusion of palm oil from the negotiations.

“the rules for The palm oil are a huge success for sustainability.”

Fabian Molina, SP-Nationalrat

Now, since the referendum on the final agreement with Indonesia is as good as fixed, you must choose the SP Switzerland, between Principles and pragmatism. Under pressure, she is young and from the West of Switzerland. Both the Juso as well as the Geneva and the neuchâtel cantonal parties collected signatures.

Holds Parmelin his promise?

The national native party wants to know before making a decision but that’s exactly how the Federal government intends to ensure that the palm oil Labels in the free trade agreement not only sham operated. This is when the controversial product is a crucial point because of environmental organizations criticize some of the Labels as Fig leaves.

in Vain the SP had tried in Parliament, to write to the control mechanisms in the Federal decree on the agreement. Economy Minister, Guy Parmelin promised high and Holy, he’ll take the controls seriously, and promised that he would adopt in a regulation, appropriate rules. Foreign policy Fabian Molina criticized the fact that despite the close referendum vote is open to the public, what will stand out in this regulation.

Deforested rain forest land for oil palm cultivation in Indonesia: Only sustainably produced palm oil should be allowed to be imported with customs incentives in Switzerland.Photo: Rony Muharrman (Keystone)

The SP has clear expectations: first, the compliance with the label regulations of the Federal government or organizations controlling, even without a concrete suspicion of a violation. Secondly, the government must designate a point of contact for abuse reports. And third, importers would threaten a fine if they violate their duty of Care to Check the Labels. “The Federal Council Parmelin must now rapidly create clarity. Otherwise, the SP will support the Referendum against the free trade agreement,” says Molina.

principles or pragmatics

it seems, However, to be Parmelin not to put pressure on you. The state Secretariat for economic Affairs (Seco) in his Department, the regulation will be called with the agreement officially in force. A hearing was provided.

The Department of Economic Affairs would be supported on the existing Labels, the Seco. The Seco has the various palm oil Standards comparing. In the may study published in the large industrial Label RSPO and the environmental organisations, founded in POIG turned out to be the best ranked. What Standards want to accept the Federal finally, as a criterion for Customs facilitation, however, is not yet decided. In the first currently under review, to what extent the Labels to the specifications of the agreement respect.

it is Already clear, according to Seco, that independent review mechanisms are an important criterion, which will hold the regulation. A revocation of the Duty relief is only provided if there are serious structural violations, and the label organization does not resolve these. Sanctions for importers are not planned.

the demands of The social Democrats are thus expected to be only partially and you have to strike the balance between Principles and pragmatism.

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