Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok acknowledged India's Solvent Extractor Association is the conduit for various edible oil processors in India. - NSTP/ROHANIS SHUKRI

BANGI: Malaysia is very concerned about India’s leading vegetable oil trade body's unilateral “don’t buy Malaysian palm oil” advisory to its members.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok acknowledged India's Solvent Extractor Association is the conduit for various edible oil processors in India.

“Palm oil, particularly from Malaysia, is the key raw material that allows profitable operations of Solvent Extractor Association's members involved in India's refining industry,” she told reporters here today, after officiating at the opening ceremony of the Palm Oil Supply and Demand Outlook Conference organised by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).

“Indeed, it was just last month I attended the Globe Oil conference hosted by the Solvent Extractor Association at Mumbai, as their guest of honour.

“While we try to understand the underlying sentiment associated with the Solvent Extractors Association's advisory to curtail purchase of Malaysian palm oil, we feel this is a major setback in our progressing cooperation and working relations.

"I urge the Solvent Extractor Association not to take unilateral action and allow our respective governments to resolve the current situation,” Kok said.

She added that it is important for India's vegetable oils traders and the Malaysian palm oil industry to continue to work closely together for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders.

“Malaysia and India have shared a long-rooted historical and cultural commonality, as well as good diplomatic and trade relationship. Malaysia has always looked upon India as a strategic and important trading partner.

Malaysia has regularly looked towards India to provide technology innovations, particularly in the processing of palm oil.

Kok acknowledged the pioneering role played by Indian entrepreneurs when the Malaysian refining industry was at its infancy.

“Currently Malaysia is seriously exploring various avenues to further enhance bilateral trade between our two nations,” she said.

Last year, Malaysia’s total trade with India rose by 2.2 per cent to RM62.76 billion from RM61.38 billion in 2017.

Besides palm oil, Kok said Malaysia’s trade with India includes oil and gas, automobiles, chemicals, electrical and electronics, food, and other finished goods.