Dompok Calls on Turkey to Grab Opportunities in Palm Oil

ISTANBUL, Aug 3 (Bernama) — Malaysia is hopeful of an increase in its palm oil exports to Turkey and the surrounding countries with the opening of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) regional office in the Turkish capital, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Dompok said there was ample potential to further enhance palm oil trade with Turkey which, due to its strategic geographical location, could also serve as a springboard into other Middle East and European countries.

There were many economic activities that Turkey could undertake using palm oil as a base to further develop downstream activities, he said when opening the Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) Turkey 2009 and the MPOC office here Monday.

Citing an example, Dompok said the production of biodiesel using crude palm oil would benefit Turkey in the context of making available sustainable and renewable form of energy as well as production of other products.

“This, complemented with Turkey’s geographical and political advantage with other countries in the Middle East and Europe, provides opportunity for the exports of value-added processed palm based products,” said the minister at the event held at the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel.

In 2008, Turkey imported about 175,000 tonnes of palm oil and palm oil products from Malaysia valued at RM598 million or 122 million euros.

Speaking in front of some 200 industry players from both Turkey and Malaysia, Dompok noted that processing of palm oil-based products in Turkey would confer benefits to the domestic industry by providing opportunity for exports to third markets.

The industry in Turkey, he said, should synergise on this opportunity by importing palm oil which had a competitive advantage over other major vegetable oils.

“The Malaysian palm oil is readily available owing to its perennial nature, well documented health benefits and also planted and harvested sustainably,” the minister said at the trade event jointly organised by the MPOC and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

Dompok urged the business community from Malaysia and Turkey, together with their counterparts in this region, to explore collaborative initiatives to further enhance linkages in this versatile commodity.

Malaysia would always be committed to significantly improve its business relationships with not only Turkey but other neighbouring countries as well, he said.

“By operating our MPOC regional office here, we believe that we will not only enhance trade opportunities in this region but also give our support to the palm oil industrial players around this region whenever and wherever possible,” said Dompok.

He underscored the Malaysian government’s view that the Mediterranean and Middle East were very important markets for palm oil.

The Middle East region imported about 1.9 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia in 2008, an increase of 31.6 percent over 2007’s figures.

In his address, Dompok took the opportunity to tout the advantages of palm oil, describing it as “indisputably the most cost-efficient edible oil” with superior yields than competing crops like soybean.

“The only thing that palm oil needs is a well-regulated industry with sound policy adoption such as zero-burning policy and plantations on legal agricultural land such as those practised in Malaysia to ensure the sustainability of the industry,” he said.

Present at the opening ceremony were Malaysian ambassador to Turkey Datuk Saipul Anuar, MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor, MPOB director-general Datuk Dr Mohd Basri Wahid and MPOC chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron.

Headed by regional director Haznita Husin, the MPOC office is located at Guzel Konutlar Sitesi Dilek Apt. No 56, D:3, Balmumcu, Besiktas, Istanbul. It can be reached at Tel: 90-212-266-8234.

Dompok is scheduled to fly to Turkey’s capital, Ankara, tomorrow for talks with senior government officials. Source : Bernama by Muin Abdul Majid

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