Indonesia could target Airbus and Thales if the European Parliament acts on a resolution to reduce the use of palm oil of which the South East Asian nation is the world's largest producer.
A recent European Parliament resolution seeks to reduce the use of palm oil for environmental reasons following a string of campaigns conducted by European NGOs which suggest that palm oil substances are detrimental to human health.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said he recently met with his counterpart from the European Union (EU) and expressed his rage, saying that Indonesia would retaliate against attempts to disturb the global sale of palm oil, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
"When I met my EU counterpart, I said I would talk to my fellow ministers to start a plan not to buy Airbus planes anymore as they may contain risks of igniting skin cancer. The use of the Thales radar system (made in the EU) also has similar risks of causing skin cancer," said Lukita in a gathering late on Thursday, the newspaper reported.
"The EU has to prove that palm oil poses a risk to health. Indonesia will do the same thing to Airbus by reviewing whether or not it is safe to fly with the plane.”
Lukita said the EU minister defended the EU’s position by saying that the palm oil resolution was issued by the EU parliament and was not binding, and that the campaigns that claimed palm oil posed a risk to human health were taken up by NGOs.
"In response to that, I said I would tell my legislative friends and local NGOs to do the same thing to your products,"Lukita was quoted as saying by Jakarta Post.
In March, Indonesia had signed an agreement to buy unspecified number of Airbus A400M military aircraft. However, hinting at industrial work as part of any deal, the head of Airbus Military Aircraft, Fernando Alonso, had said that the aircraft would form the basis of further industrial co-operation and could eventually boost the Indonesian Air Force's Mobility Arm - a type of unit which typically handles troop transport.