India an important trading partner, says Malaysia's industries minister ahead of Piyush Goyal meeting

Palm oil prices within the agricultural commodities are trading at multi-week lows. India is the biggest importer of palm oil in the world and much of it comes from Indonesia and Malaysia — the two countries account for 85 percent of the global palm oil produce.


Palm oil is used in various products from cooking, baking, processed foods, soaps, detergents, and as a biofuel as well. India and Malaysia hold a special treaty wherein former imports palm oil at a lower duty than what other countries do.


India is a major importer of Malaysian palm oil, said Teresa Kok, primary industries minister of Malaysia. We also import a lot of major products from India. Like in 2018, we imported petroleum products, metals, chemical and chemical products, machinery and equipment from India. So India is a very important trading partner, she added.


Talking about the concerns with the European Union (EU), she said: The efforts of EU to try to phase out palm oil as biodiesel, both Malaysia and Indonesia have had a ministerial meeting a few weeks ago and both countries have decided to file a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO).


The European parliamentary election was just over and there will be new MEPs [members of the European parliament] and also new European commissioners. So I plan to go to Europe to meet all these European commissioners and European parliamentarians to explain to them the situation in Malaysia, especially our efforts to implement Malaysian sustainable palm oil, she added.


Kok further added that Malaysia is looking at other new markets including some countries in Africa and China. China has somehow tried to reduce the import of soybean oil due to the trade war with United States. So Malaysia had negotiated with Chinese government to try and work together to increase the export of Malaysian palm oil into the Chinese market, she said.


Kok also said that she would be meeting commerce minister Piyush Goyal later this week. There is a lot of investment opportunity for the business people in India and Malaysia. We should work together closely to explore more investment, joint investment, and strategic partnership in both India and Malaysia. I believe that can work this out well based on the close cultural ties between India and Malaysia, she added.