KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok’s visit to Pakistan has unearthed strong potential for Malaysia and the South Asian nation to cooperate further in palm oil trade as well as other commodities, her ministry said.
The Primary Industries Ministry said Kok and Pakistan’s Advisor for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood had a four-eye meeting over common interests for the two nations.
“The two leaders took the opportunity for a bilateral dialogue to explore various issues of common interest to both countries. Both emphasised the excellent cordial bilateral relations and further explored areas for enhancing trade.
“Pakistan is a key importer of Malaysian palm oil and products. In 2018, Pakistan imported 1.16 million metric tonnes (MT) of palm oil from Malaysia valued at US$0.83 billion (RM2.97 billion). Avenues to further expand Malaysian palm oil share in this growing market was also discussed.
“For example, Pakistan is a net exporter of rice, fruit and other produces that are required by Malaysia and Abdul Razak Dawood encouraged Malaysia to consider instituting trading practices that could allow smoother passage of these products into Malaysia,” said the statement.
During her keynote address at the 5th Pakistan Edible Oil Conference (PEOC) in Karachi, Kok highlighted the importance of Pakistan as an end user of Malaysian palm oil, facilitated by the joint venture refinery between Malaysia and Pakistan in Port Qasim.
She also described Pakistan as one of Malaysia’s most regular and dependable buyers of local palm oil and products.
She emphasised that palm oil has the potential for higher uptake in Pakistan given that its local production of oils and fats meets only around 20 per cent of its consumption needs.
It depends heavily on imports to meet growing domestic demand and consumption, which has been increasing at a rate of 4.5 per cent each year for the past seven years, due to increasing population, income and consumer spending.
Palm oil is widely used for the manufacture of vanaspati (ghee) and it is also the preferred raw material for the food industry in Pakistan, especially for frying and in confectionary items.
At the same time, during her discussion with Abdul Razak, Kok pointed out that Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) exporters from Sri Lanka enjoyed lower duties whereas Malaysia’s higher quality MDF were subjected to higher import tariffs.
“Other product opportunities were also discussed and both leaders agreed to convey these matters to the concerned authorities in their respective countries so that solutions could be worked out to benefit better trade relations between Malaysia and Pakistan,” said the statement.