Sime Darby frets over possible US ban

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's Sime Darby Plantation flagged concern yesterday about a possible ban by the Customs authorities in the United States, a key market for the firm from the world's second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil.

After reports this week identified Sime Darby as the next target of an import ban by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the firm said it had not been given an opportunity to explain a petition filed against it by anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared (LS) in April this year.

Malaysia said on Thursday it was anticipating that the US would ban imports of another plantation firm after the CBP blocked entry of palm oil products from FGV Holdings - Malaysia's largest palm oil company - over suspicion of forced labour.

Sime Darby said: "Despite our attempts to engage with the CBP, we have not had the opportunity to provide any explanation and neither has (the company) been provided details of the allegation by LS."

The company said it had earlier responded to a summary of LS' petition in public statements, and would continue engaging the non-governmental organisation to hopefully obtain the details of the allegations.

Sime Darby's annual exports to the US are valued at about US$5 million (S$6.8 million), it added.

FGV has defended its labour practices, saying it has worked towards rectifying its labour standards progressively since 2015, and that it will continue to engage the CBP to clear the company's name.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2020, with the headline Sime Darby frets over possible US ban. Subscribe