Chongqing, Nov 29: China imported a total of 3.9 million metric tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia valued at US$ 4.35 billion (about RM13.26 billion) in 2011, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
“Palm oil imports supplement nearly 70 per cent of the supply and demand gaps for oils and fats in China,” he said.
He urged Malaysian and Chinese palm oil traders to forge business relationships based on the common interest of greater growth of the palm oil and fats industries.
Palm oil’s versatility coupled with its competitive price gives it ample room for further usage with China’s increasing economic prosperity, rising population, rapid urbanisation and improved living standards, he said at the opening of the Fourth Malaysia-China Palm Oil Trade Fair And Seminar (POTS).
Dompok also encouraged both Malaysian and Chinese counterparts to form alliances in the palm oil business.
“We have previously demonstrated the viability and success of such strategic partnerships through ventures between Malaysian companies and their counterparts in the Netherlands, China, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Liberia.
“These are a few of many examples of how Malaysia has built strategic alliances with key partners to gain success in the market, not only by selling or exporting palm oil, but also by playing a major role in developing the downstream activities in the importing countries,” he said.
Dompok told a press conference later that the new CPO export tax structure to be introduced in January 2013 would provide a level playing field for Malaysian companies and the downstream industries in the palm oil sector.
He said the new export tax structure, from 23 per cent currently to between 4.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent, would allow Malaysian refineries to be more competitive with other countries’ refiners.
“Therefore, Malaysia’s share in the world market would be enhanced,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said palm oil could play a crucial role in the growth of the catering and fast food sector.
“According to 2011 industry extimates, in China the imported palm oil is mainly used to produce oleochemicals, soap, instant noodles and in frying, catering and the fast food sector, which account for an estimated six per cent, 16 per cent, 20 per cent and 31 per cent respectively,” he said.
Palm oil used directly by households accounts for 22 per cent of the total volume consumed, Lee said.
He added the volume of palm oil exported would likely be about the same as last year’s 18 million metric tonnes, as palm oil continues to feature strongly as a major food commodity in the world, and one which is highly affordable to the masses.
POTS China 2012, themed “Enhancing Partnerships, Stengthening Innovation Through Malaysian Palm Oil”, was jointly organised by MPOC and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), in partnership with the Development and Exchange Centre (DEC) of China’s State Administration of Grain.
Aimed at attracting new entrepreneurs from China to the palm oil trade, the event drew about 300 participants from both Malaysia and China. – BERNAMA