Ministry seeks diplomatic solution to India’s restriction on refined palm oil imports

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh arrive for the Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook Seminar 2020 in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh arrive for the Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook Seminar 2020 in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The Primary Industries Ministry is seeking diplomatic solutions with India following their move to restrict refined palm oil imports from Malaysia.   

Its minister Teresa Kok said they will continuously engage with the world’s biggest palm oil buyer to find amicable solutions to the matter.

“It is important for us to engage them further through the diplomatic channel with stakeholders and industry players,” she told reporters after officiating the Palm Oil Economic Review and Outlook Seminar 2020 here, today.

Recently, the Indian government reportedly put restrictions on refined palm oil imports to protect domestic refiners.

The curbs on RBD palm olein (the refined, bleached and deodorised form of palm oil) were announced in a notification by the Ministry of Commerce.

On January 13, Kok dismissed reports that India has called for a boycott of Malaysian palm oil.

She said it was learned from several discussions that Indian palm oil buyers wanted Malaysia to increase its export of crude palm oil and reduce the export of refined palm oil.

Earlier in her speech, Kok said the ministry will set up a special committee to manage the trust account called ‘Biodiesel Stabilisation Fund” for the crude palm oil (CPO) windfall tax.

“Different sector such as palm oil industry and industry players will be invited to be part of the community as well as a representative of Finance Ministry to manage this levy in a transparent manner,” said the minister.

On January 7, she said, at least 50 per cent of the crude palm oil (CPO) windfall tax will be channelled to the fund, which is expected to be set up within the first quarter of this year.

On another note, Kok said a total of 3.68 million hectares or 62.91 per cent of the 5.85 million hectares of oil palm areas have been certified by the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) as of January 15, 2020.

A total of 345 oil palm mills or 75.60 per cent have received certification from MSPO.

“Malaysia Palm Oil Board will be taking stern action which include cancelling of licences of palm oil growers with 100 acres and above and palm oil mills that do not comply to MPSO beginning January 1, 2020,” she said. — Bernama

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