Buy more from India to protect palm oil exports, urges Kok

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok says she has raised the matter with the Cabinet.

KUALA LUMPUR: Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok is in talks with other ministries to correct the trade imbalance with India so that more palm oil can enter the India market at a lower import duty.

“We want a fair trade balance. We hope the deficit with India can be overcome,” she told reporters today.

Kok led a five-day economic and investment mission to India last month to strengthen trade relations. She said Indian officials had raised the issue of correcting the trade deficit and had also asked if more products from India could enter the Malaysian market.

She said she would meet the relevant government agencies to discuss the matter.

Kok said she had also brought up the issue of trade imbalance during a Cabinet. meeting.

“I may discuss with the agriculture industry ministry and the international trade ministry on how we can improve the trade balance between India and Malaysia so more of our palm oil can enter their market with cheaper import duty,” she said.

Last week, India began investigations into whether a jump in refined palm oil shipments from Malaysia is causing serious injury to the domestic industry, following a complaint from a local refiner there.

Malaysian exports of refined palm oil to India, the world’s biggest importer of edible oils, jumped 727% in the first half of 2019 to 1.57 million tonnes compared with the same period a year before, according to data compiled by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

In January, New Delhi cut import duty on refined palm oil shipments to 50% from 54%.