US lifts ban on palm oil, derivative products from Malaysian Sime Darby Plantation

Lucas Hall


HOUSTON (ICIS)–US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday lifted a two-year ban on imports of palm oil products from Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP), after findings that Sime Darby, its subsidiaries, and joint ventures no longer produce palm oil and derivative products using forced labour.

Effective immediately, the US will allow shipments containing Sime Darby-produced palm oil and derivatives to enter the US, provided the imports are otherwise compliant with the law.

Sime Darby is the world’s largest palm oil company by land size.

On 28 January 2022, CBP published a finding against palm oil and derivative products produced by Sime Darby, its subsidiaries, and joint ventures, subjecting such shipments of these products to seizure by CBP personnel.

The finding expanded upon a Withhold Release Order (WRO) CBP issued on 30 December 2020 blocking the import of goods produced by Sime Darby over suspected forced labour practices.

In a separate statement, Sime Darby said the US CBP recognised the comprehensive process undertaken by SDP in the last two years to review, revise and – where necessary – upgrade its protocols for recruiting, managing and working with its workers.

“This exercise has been hugely valuable in establishing a market-leading approach to ensure our employees feel safe, satisfied, supported and fairly treated”, said Group Managing Director of Sime Darby Plantation Helmy Othman Basha.

Click here to view the statement from Sime Darby, including a list of the company’s renewed commitments.

The announcement is welcome news to importers of palm oil and derivatives like oleochemicals, some of whom faced major logistics challenges in 2021 as a result of the ban.

Fatty acids and alcohols markets faced particular challenges, given the impact of the ban on key stakeholders in the US market.

Sime Darby Plantation was among eight companies in the plantation and glove manufacturing sectors subjected to a WRO on their products by the CBP over forced labour allegations.

The CBP maintains an import ban on FGV Holdings Berhad, the other affected plantation group, in place since late September 2020.

Thumbnail shows palm-oil fruit. Image by Adriana Adinandra/SOPA Images/Shutterstock.


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