BEIJING: Malaysia hopes China will increase its palm oil imports from Malaysia following a meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, tomorrow.
Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said Malaysia was once the top palm oil exporter to China and was now behind Indonesia and European Union.
He hoped that with positive results from the studies, including research done by China, which showed that palm oil was a nutritious edible oil, the demand for Malaysian palm oil would increase.
“The move by France’s National Assembly to reject a motion to increase palm oil import tax to €500 (€1 = RM4.59) per tonne from €100 will also help spur the demand for the product,” he told Malaysian reporters here today.
He said Najib would offer a few proposals to Li for China to increase the import of palm oil and rubber in their bilateral talks,” Mah said.
Mah said China’s imports of Malaysian palm oil had plunged by about 50 per cent in January-June 2016 compared to same period in 2015 possibly due to some negative reports and wrong perception on the nutritional value of palm oil.
“This government-to-government talk will convince the private sector in China to buy more palm oil, instead of soyabean oil. We held negotiations with the Chinese officials recently and I hope Li can announce something substantive,” he said.
Palm oil export will one of the issues Najib would bring up in his meeting with Li, he said.
“The second issue is about the rubber. It has has a big potential, such as for railway and rubber band,” he said.
Najib would also discuss palm oil research on whether the oil was good for consumer (health).
“We have already sent the memorandum of understanding to Najib so that he can discuss with Li tomorrow. We are doing research, especially in Gansu province. We have cooperated with the Gansu province government, by using palm oil on biscuits.
“It’s for the children in the province. It’s good for the eyes (vitamin A). Now there are 2000 children under this programme and we need to expand it to other provinces,” he said.
In the first half of 2016, Malaysia palm oil export to China fell by 50 per cent compared to last year, fortunately, after few months time, it has increase a bit.
Malaysia is now the world’s second largest palm oil producer, after Indonesia. –Bernama