by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE government is looking to increase Malaysia’s uptake of raw sugar import from India beginning next year onwards to bridge the trade gap between both countries.
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok (picture) said the decision came following recommendations from the discussion with India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal last August.
“Malaysia will explore more ways to increase our raw sugar import from India beginning 2020,” she said in a statement yesterday, adding that the decision to raise the imports from India is based on its position as Malaysia’s trading partner.
“The meeting was a continuation of the discussion with India’s commerce and industry minister last August, which was focusing on Malaysia’s commitment to bridge the trade gap with India,” Kok explained.
According to the minister, the meeting on Monday involved officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry to discuss efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with India.
“The move was decided considering India’s status in our export market. It was Malaysia third-largest palm oil and palm-based products buyer in 2018 with export value amounted to RM6.84 billion.
“The amount contributed 10.1% to the total export value of Malaysian palm oil and palm oil products, and it shows the significance of India as our trading partner,” she said.
On Monday, Reuters reported that Indian refiners have halted palm oil buying for November and December deliveries due to the likelihood of import tax hike by the Indian government to curb the palm oil imports.
It added that the refiners are prioritising shipments from Indonesia to avoid the possible impact of higher duties.
The shipment of Malaysia’s crude palm oil to India for January-September doubled to 3.9 million tonne compared to 1.8 million tonne a year ago.
Apart from raw sugar, Kok said the government is also exploring to increase the import of buffalo meat from India, leveraging on the country’s status as the world’s biggest exporters of the meat.
“We are also looking at the prospect to import more buffalo meat from India due to the increased domestic demand,” she said.
Local companies are also urged to increase their imports of goods from India to benefit from the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.