US adds Malaysia’s Sime Darby to palm import ban list
By Lauren Moffitt / Argus Media
US customs has barred entry to raw palm oil and derived products supplied by Malaysian producer Sime Darby Plantation and affiliated entities from yesterday, citing evidence of forced labour in its production process.
Shipments will be detained at US ports, with importers allowed to re-export or demonstrate that cargoes were not produced with forced labour.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency issued a similar outstanding withhold release order against Malaysian palm oil producer FGV Holdings in September.
Sime Darby is the largest palm oil firm by planted acreage globally and produces roughly 2.5mn t or 4pc of crude palm oil (CPO) output each year, with 583,766 hectares of palm oil plantations across Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The US received 1.1mn t of palm oil and its factions during January-September 2020 compared with top palm oil buyers India and China that imported 5mn t and 4.4mn t each over the same period.
Sime Darby has not yet commented on the decision. FGV has repeatedly denounced the US customs order against its products, claiming it has been working to improve labour practices since abuse allegations first emerged in 2015. The CBP has declined to release details of findings that prompted the first ban but claims its research had identified all 11 international labour organisation indicators of forced labour in its operations. All 11 indicators were also found in its investigation into Sime Darby, the CBP said.