Malaysia offers Boris Johnson Brexit trade deal as it rages over EU ‘double standards’

Posted on Aug 20 2019 - 12:35am by admin

In a statement to Bloomberg, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said: “Post-Brexit, the UK will have a historic opportunity to strike a trade deal with one of the world’s fastest-growing regions and prove that it can shed European red tape and protectionism.” Mr Mohamad also promised “better trade terms” than if the UK remained in the EU.

And he hit out at the bloc over a proposed ban on palm oil, claiming the move was more about protecting the EU rather than the environment.

Mr Mohamad said: “European Union officials justify the ban on environmental grounds. In fact, it’s designed to protect the agricultural industries of a few EU states.

“If Europe was so concerned about the environmental impact of palm-oil cultivation, why has it just signed a trade deal with South America?

“Beef production there represents by far the world’s biggest agricultural cause of deforestation, dwarfing the CO2 emissions caused by palm oil.

“Moreover, EU nations that produce competing oilseeds such as rapeseed do so much less efficiently, producing a quarter to one tenth as much oil per unit of land while using more fertiliser and pesticides.

“This is why the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently warned that a ban on palm oil would not stop deforestation but instead lead to greater consumption of land-intensive rapeseed, soy and sunflower to keep up with rising demand.”

It comes as Mr Johnson is set to head to Berlin and Paris this week to call for a new Brexit agreement.

The Prime Minister is demanding the controversial Irish backstop is scrapped from the divorce deal.

READ MORE: Brexit news: Arch remainer Gina Miller vows to fight a no-deal exit

Mr Johnson’s meetings with the French President and German Chancellor come ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz at the end of the week, where he is also likely to meet the US President Donald Trump for talks.

It comes after documents leaked to the Sunday Times claimed the “aftershocks” Britain could face if there is no deal.

However No 10 was quick to point out the document was out of date and no-longer relevant and had been released by a Remainer MP to deliberately scupper the Prime Minister’s Brexit meetings in Europe this week.

The “Operation Yellowhammer” documents claimed Britain will be hit by food, fuel and medicine shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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A senior Whitehall source told the Sunday Times: “This is not Project Fear, this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal. These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios – not the worst case.”

There could even be protests across the UK which would “require significant amounts of police resources” in a no-deal scenario, according to the documents.

A Number 10 source said: “This document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available.

“It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.

“Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding (has been) already made available, and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings.”

And Michael Gove, who is responsible for no-deal planning, said the documents were a “worse-case scenario”.

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