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Malaysia will continue to engage with India and other countries to instill confidence in palm oil products, while resolving issues diplomatically, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking. NST pix by Saifullizan Tamadi

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will continuously engage with India and other countries to instill confidence in palm oil products, while resolving issues related to the vegetable oil.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said palm oil trade cannot and should not be hindered as it will affect pricing in the global market.

“I will continue to engage with the Indian trade minister too but I am sure Primary Industries Minister Theresa Kok is working very hard to ensure Malaysia will always has its strategies in dealing with this issue,” he told reporters after officiating at the National Export Day 2019 here today.

Recently, India’s Solvent Extractors’ Association president Atul Chaturvedi advised members not to buy palm oil products from Malaysia, as a sign of protest towards Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on the Kashmir conflict.

Dr Mahathir, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month, said despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the region had been invaded and occupied by India.

He called on India to work with Pakistan to resolve the problem.

Darell said he had recently met his counterpart to discuss on the dispute in relation to India’s plan to restrict purchase of Malaysia’s palm oil.

“As for India, we were fortunate to have met Indian Trade Minister recently. We did discuss it in a informal way. I hope to meet him again and get more details of the issues in terms of their actions.

“We informally met and discussed on the sideline of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. I think it is always good to engage with people,” he added.

Darell reiterated Malaysia has yet to receive an official decision from the Indian government, citing that the planned boycott of Malaysian palm oil was initiated by vegetable oils traders in India.

“Malaysia’s bilateral relation with India is still good. But there is always a contingency plan. Most importantly, let us look at this matter positively,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said RCEP was reaching substantial conclusion and expected to be announced in the third week in November.

“We can see Asean countries working together towards substantial conclusion. Of course, we might face circumstances just before the Asean submit. But I am positive that we are concluding RCEP from 16 countries,” he said.

The RCEP is a multilateral trade agreement between the 10 member states of Asean – Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – and its six FTA (Free Trade Agreeent) partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

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