Malaysia Hopes to Expand Palm Oil Business with Russia

MOSCOW: Malaysia hopes to develop and strengthen bilateral relations

in the area of palm oil trade with Russia.

Plantation Industries

and Commo­dities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dom­pok believes there are

opportunities for the private sector in the two countries to redefine

their business approaches to form partnerships and strategic alliances

to discover new avenues for expanding the edible oil and palm oil

business.

“There are opportunities to explore investments in

downstream higher value added palm derivatives, such as oleochemicals,

pharmaceuticals, processed foods, specialty products and even consumer

brands,” he said at the opening of Malaysia-Russia Palm Oil Trade Fair

& Seminar 2010 (POTS 2010) here yesterday.

The POTS 2010 was

jointly organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and Malaysian

Palm Oil Board (MPOB) in collaboration with the Russian Manufacturers

Association and the Russian Oils and Fats Manufacturers Association.

Also present at POTS 2010 were Malaysian Ambassador to Moscow Datuk

Mohamad Khalis, MPOC chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor, MPOB chairman Datuk

Hj Sabri Ahmad MPOB director general Datuk Dr Mohd Basri Wahid, MPOC

chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron and other delegates from

Malaysia.

According to Dompok, palm oil, together with

electronics and electrical products as well as iron and steel products,

accounted for 66.2% of the total Malaysian exports to Russia.

Commenting

on palm products, he said palm oil had been recognised and accepted by

Russian consumers over the last 10 years.

He added that palm oil

consumption in Russia had gone up from just over 150,000 tonnes per

annum to almost 500,000 tonnes currently.

“It is very encouraging

to note that palm oil fits into the oils and fats market in Russia by

complementing its (Russia) successful sunflower oil industry,” he said.

In 2009, Malaysia produced 17.56 million tonnes, or 43.7%, of the

total palm oil production and exported 15.9 million tonnes, or 45% of

world palm exports.

Malaysia is the main supplier of palm oil for

the Russian market. Last year, Malaysian palm oil exports to Russia

stood at 210,809 tonnes with export value of about US$150mil.

“While

the volume is not big, we acknowledge the importance of Russia as our

palm oil trading partners especially as a hub to the other CIS

(Commonwealth of Independent States) countries,” Dompok said.

Going

forward, he said the oil and fats industry and trade were in an

exciting period with buoyant prices and strong growth in demand.

“Despite

facing a host of challenges, including pressures from

environmentalists, I believe that if we commit to working together, we

can overcome these challenges.

“And will continue to reap the

huge benefits arising from the increasing demand for, and supply of palm

oil and its derivatives,” he said.

Dompok said although Malaysia

was being accused by environmentalists for cutting down trees to plant

palm trees, the country had at least 50% forest covered as compared with

Denmark (12%) and UK (20%).

On health issues pertaining to palm

oil, he said data showed that palm oil was safe for consumption.

Meanwhile,

Lee of MPOC hoped that a consensus can be reached in addressing the

technical and supply aspects of palm oil to achieve a “win-win

situation.”

Meanwhile, Lee hoped that a consensus can be reached

in addressing the technical and supply aspects of palm oil to achieve a

“win-win situation” through dialogues and interactions between Malaysian

palm oil industry stakeholders and Russian decision makers.

“Through

such sharing of knowledge, we can assist both countries in improving

trade ties as well as to help settle impending issues that are present

in the trade such as the high import duties of up to 30% on certain palm

oil products,” he said.

Source : The Star by Leong Hung Yee

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