In anti-EU drive, Malaysia hopes China would become its biggest palm oil trade partnerFebruary 3, 2018
Malaysia is making a lot of noise on the palm oil ban by the European Union (EU) to the point that it is now hoping that China – already a major trading partner to Malaysia – would surpass the Europeans in the disputed oil imports.
Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mah Siew Keong said Friday that he expects China to become Malaysia’s largest commodity importer in two years, underpinned by more collaboration between the two countries in the commodity sector.
According to the minister, the exports of Malaysia’s palm oil and palm-based products to China from January to November 2017 rose 9.8 percent year-on-year to 8.52 billion ringgit (2.19 billion U.S. dollars). Based on the exports value, China has overtaken India to become the second largest buyer for Malaysian palm oil and palm-based products after the European Union (EU).
“We look forward to working closely with China to further collaboration and growth in the commodity sector. I am optimistic that our exports to China will continue to grow due to the positive ties between the two countries,” Mah told a press conference held in conjunction with a visit by Chinese Ambassador Bai Tian.
Last week, Mah said Malaysia should ban butter from the European Union (EU), in a tit-for-tat response to the EU’s ban on palm oil used in biodiesel.
In January, he said Malaysia would go tit-for-tat against the EU, thinking of plans on how to boycott EU products entering Malaysia as a means to bend the Europeans from implementing their ban of palm oil products in biodiesel.
On the 17th January, 429 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted for the resolution to ban palm biodiesel from the EU energy mix after 2020.
The final ruling on the EU Renewable Energy Directive II will be made in a tripartite meeting along with the Council of the EU and the European Commission in mid-February 2018.
During Chinese New Year, Mah will lead a palm oil delegation to the EU. “We will meet with ministers and commissioners from at least five countries on this EU resolution.
“Trade discrimination against palm will not be tolerated. The EU Parliament’s vote to ban palm oil biodiesel will harm European trade and cooperation in Malaysia, and southeast Asia,” Mah said.